Strong, experienced founder teams are critical to startup success. All businesses, no matter how big or small, had a beginning – oftentimes full of mistakes, and definitely far from what they are today. The world’s greatest startups were driven not by great ideas but strong founder teams. In the beginning, Google was just another search engine, but its founder team turned into the global behemoth it is today. The same can be said about Facebook and many other startups that are part of today’s billion-dollar valuation club.
Founder teams drive startup success. A great founder team can make even a mediocre idea a huge success while a weak founder team can make even the most brilliant startup idea a monumental failure.
Launching a startup is never easy. The path to success is inevitably riddled with obstacles and challenges. But a strong founder team can navigate these challenges and build a successful startup. While there are many traits and characteristics of strong founder teams, in looking at some of the world’s most respected startups, you’ll find that resilience is chief among them. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and to forge confidently ahead through the darkest of times.
If you want to a successful startup, then you’ll need to be sure to build a strong, resilient founder team. To help you on your way, here’s a look at the common denominators for the most resilient founder teams below.
- They build a culture of openness: It is easy to fall into the trap of pointing fingers when the team experiences problems, or fails to deliver. After all, no one wants to feel the weight of getting blamed for the entire team’s failure. However, what sets an effective founder team apart is that they get to the root cause of the issue – determining what points are actionable, and seeing ways how to prevent this from happening again. The first question is not “Who caused it?”, but rather, “What can we do about it now?” With this culture of openness, employees look after each other, are not afraid of failing, and thus are engaged to perform well.
- They know what they need to do: As the business is just starting, it might be a challenge to delineate tasks outright. This can sometimes result in employees doing redundant work. Moving forward, it is essential that at the core of every founder team member, is a clear picture of key responsibilities. Aside from seeing the big picture, everyone should be able to zoom in on the workplace, and find out what one needs to do.
- They have level-headed leaders: Employees look up to their leaders and find a sense of direction with what they see. When faced with decisions, they expect no less from the leaders to make the right choice. When an employee makes a mistake, and their leaders deal with the issue in an irrational manner, others might tend to succumb to fear, and will rethink if they are at the right company. As such, a strong founder team must be level-headed and rational.
- They have a different perspective on challenges: Resilient founder teams look at problems as a test of skill and team effort. Rather than seeing them as something negative, they see problems and challenges as an opportunity to grow. This boosts team productivity and lowers stress levels.
- They deal with problems: Once the business problem is made known, resilient founder teams identify who can best address the challenge, and deal with the problem head-on. Outside of projects, when colleagues have issues, they should also be given an avenue to talk it out and resolve it, preventing issues from silently growing and impacting founder team performance.
- They are determined and do not flake out: Resilient founder teams will always ensure that the work gets done. Times can be at a low, and if people are not determined, they will not see through to the end. There is beauty in experiencing projects from beginning to end – a great founder team identifies the problem, thinks of solutions, acts on them, and feels accomplished when the business problem is finally solved.
- They develop the needed skills: As the business grows, founder teams must grow and evolve with it. Resilient teams adapt, and they do so quickly. Every team member needs to be a critical thinker, an enthusiastic problem solver, and an effective communicator.
Building a strong, resilient founder team can be tough. First, you have to find the right members, but then, you have to make sure everyone has the proper skillsets and traits. The good news is that even if your founder team does not have all the traits necessary for success, these skills can be learned. Having an experienced Advisory Board is one way of accomplishing this. Sometimes though, an outside expert should be brought in to help the founder team develop. Interested in learning more about how to build a strong, resilient founder team? Contact me today and let’s talk.