How To Build A Team To Run Your Business For You?

how to build a team to run your business for you?

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Podcast by Eddie Eastman
CEO Startup Streams

“We are here to kickstart your ecommerce ambitions by providing you with a range of ecommerce stores in the most popular niches whilst providing you with a fully functioning business complete with products to sell saving you time, money and effort in the process."

Podcast by Eddie Eastman
CEO Startup Streams

“We are here to kickstart your ecommerce ambitions by providing you with a range of ecommerce stores in the most popular niches whilst providing you with a fully functioning business complete with products to sell saving you time, money and effort in the process."

Serial entrepreneurs can build amazing teams

As a serial entrepreneur, you need to be a master team builder. You need to be able to put the right systems in place and right people to run those system. But just how exactly can you go about finding the right people, and building a team of “A” players?

Well, listen to this episode of the Startup Streams Serial Entrepreneur Podcast to find out…


Being able to build out a team is a necessary skill for all entrepreneurs

I mentioned in my last Podcast “The 6 Characteristics You Need To Become A Serial Entrepreneur” about how being able to build a solid team is vital to your business success. I mentioned that Netflix does this by offering new hires a 10% higher wage than competitors. Amazon does this by ensuring each new hire is smarter than the last, based on test scores. And marketing expert Neil Patel does this by hiring staff who has done the job he needs them to do at least two other times in the past for their previous employers.

In this episode, I will walk through my exact hiring process. From setting the groundwork, how to go about finding applicants, what your job listing needs to look like, how to narrow down your search and how to onboard new hires. 


Identifying the foundation of a team: Vision. 

To help you know what kind of team you want, you first have to decide on the company culture you wish to install. It’s best to create a strong culture of positivity, curiosity and excitement so that your team will look forward to coming to work and feel supported throughout their career. You also need to make sure that your team has the same ultimate end goal in mind. You do this by hiring the right people, straight from the outset.

Just make sure at this early stage that you do really want to hire. Make sure you WILL have a job for a new applicant, that there is enough workload to go around and make sure you hire to cover your own weaknesses and skill deficiencies. 

After you have your end goal in mind, and have decided to hire, here is how you can go about it…


Where to find new job applicants? 

You essentially need to market your business. But, instead of marketing to sell products, you need to market to find the right people. You can use classic marketing methods such as Facebook ads and direct outreach to find applicants by sending them to your website, or, my favourite is to list my job openings directly on LinkedIn and boost the vacancy until I get at least 100 applicants for every one person I look to employ. I do want to hire the top 1% after all.


Writing the job description 

In terms of writing the job vacancy listing, I explain what Startup Streams is in one sentence, how we have done well to date (to emphasise we are a growing company) and this also sets the scene. This leads on to a ‘This is where you come in…’ section all about the role which needs to be fulfilled. I break the role down further into primary responsibilities; whereby I mention what percentage of their total time will be spent on each main activity. For example, I may say “20% of your time will be spent on growing our Twitter fan base”, or “50% of your time will be writing SEO optimised blogs” etc… I then follow with an “Essential Skills” section all about their past experience and tool knowledge base expected of all applicants. 

This then leads to an important section called “Strong applicants will have the following additional skills” where I list some useful extra skills I may want team members to have. For example, if I recruit for a content writer, I may say that strong applicants will have graphic design skills too. This means they can design their own images to use on the content they write, but also means I can delegate other tasks if our main designated graphic designer needs help from time to time. Likewise, I may ask the opposite of graphic designers. I will say that strong applicants to be a designer will have string writing skills. This in turn leads to a very flexible team - something which I believe is essential when starting up a company. Everyone on your team at this early stage needs to pull their weight, so to speak, and all of your team members being flexible is a great way to do this.

After the additional skills section, I reiterate the location for the role (you may be surprised how many international applicants I get, even when I state they need to be based on site) and for better or worse, I also mention the salary expectations. This is all designed to make sure that the target 100 applicants are of high value and we set expectations early.

I then go on to explain in bullet points about some terms and conditions, like how many hours they’d be expected to work each week, that they would need a clean driving license for getting around, need access to their own transport, what equipment or software they might need…

Then finally I have an ‘About you’ section, based on my ‘Welcome to the team presentation’ which you shall hear about shortly. I include this section, all about work ethic and mindset, again to weed out lower ability candidates. 

LinkedIn also has the awesome ability to ask a few screening questions. The most important question I like to ask is “Have you read and fully understand the job listing”, with a yes or no responce. This again weeds out people who are just trying their luck and it is always useful to see if any applicants state “yes”, but then go on to ask questions you have already answered on the listing, testing either their ability to retain information or to find out they didn’t actually read the listing. This does usually bring up some red flags, helping you narrow down your search. 


Finding the top 10%

I boost my job listing on LinkedIn for 3-4 days until I get 100 applicants for each position I am hiring for. I then go through each listing, one by one, paying specific attention to an applicant’s work history. Using LinkedIn’s native features, I can then class them as a ‘good fit’, a ‘maybe’ or a ‘not a fit’. If I class them as ‘not a fit’, LinkedIn will send the applicant an automated message to let them know that their application was not successful. If they are deemed as a ‘maybe’ I can then come back to evaluate further if necessary and if they are a ‘good fit’, I enter some basic info into a spreadsheet including their name and location. 

At this early stage, I aim for 15-20 ‘good fits’. I then direct message these applicants on LinkedIn, asking them to confirm their email address. I know I can scrape their email address from their LinkedIn profile or resume but I find that getting them to confirm it shows they are still interested and active. You can also get a good sense of their personality based on these first messages, and you can often tell how much they want the job. From here on out, I am testing each applicant’s effort. Roughly 3-5 applicants won’t get back to you which brings you now down to 10 applicants. For those who do, add their email address on the spreadsheet you made and note, using a tickbox, who responded back to you - and who didn’t. 


Applicant screening questions

From here, I email a set of screening questions based on the applicant’s work history, ability and competency. My favourite questions I use is; asking how would they explain what they do to a child. If they can’t explain what they do simply, they don’t know it well enough. I also ask them how they would measure success in their role. You can get a great sense of how goal focused they are. And I ask how they keep up to date with best practises and industry trends. This helps you distinguish between those with a fixed mindset and a growth mindset - the latter being optimal. Again, I am keeping a close eye on effort: Are applicants responding in 1-5 words for each question, or writing a whole paragraph. I do end each screening email with the following sentence: “Please note that successful applicants in the past have provided comprehensive answers”, this entices applicants to do a great job. 

I wait 3-5 days for applicants to respond back with their answers, then invite the best 3 for a Zoom call.


Finding the top 1%

At this stage, I know that the applicant is competent and knows their stuff. I know that the applicant has the right mindset and work experience. What I don’t know is what they are like as a person. And this is how I treat my interviews: Getting to know them. 

I have personally been in teams, as I am sure most people have, whereby the group dynamic changes considerably when a new hire comes in, with the wrong outlook, inconsistency and attitude. This makes the team less productive and a less fun place to work in. I therefore take considerable steps to make sure I am hiring the right attitudes. 

I aim to get to know each applicant by asking about their hobbies, background and interests, not because I care if they play the drums, used to skateboard or likes to climb mountains in the Scottish Highlands; but to see if they are able to strike up a conversation without being on-edge or being too reserved. 

I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get along with the people you work with and see every day. I once managed a clothing store in the UK, and the team who worked with me enjoyed coming to work every day because we had such a strong team and everyone loved working with each other. The actual job wasn’t mentally stimulating, most of the job was unpacking, steaming and folding clothes, but the work relationships made it all worth while. 

Once I have made my decision about who to hire, I let them know in writing that they are successful and provide next steps. I also provide a bit of homework, such as sending links to some articles I have been reading or YouTube videos I have been watching which I think they may find useful and relevant to their new job posting. 

Lastly, and also at any stage of the hiring process, I let each unsuccessful candidate know they did not get the job but that I may be hiring again soon. Make sure that you don’t burn any bridges with regards to unsuccessful applicants.


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The day has finally come to meet and greet your first hire or first hires. 

The first thing I do when onboarding new staff members, is to set expectations early. I say “this is what you need to do, and you need to take extreme ownership of it”.

Define roles early and clearly.

I try to avoid presentations as much as possible, but when onboarding new staff members, I do use one presentation which I am constantly improving and changing; the ‘Welcome to the team’ presentation. 

In my ‘Welcome to the team’ presentation, I outline our purpose - our collective “why”, awards we have received to date and why we have received them, the experience for the customer, a brief overview of our products, who our customer is, our place in the market, and where we intend to be in 5 years time. This all helps with the vision I talked about earlier. 

Most importantly of all, when showing my presentation to new hires, I have a separate slide for each main point which installs our work ethic at this early stage: How we act, how we work, how we think and how we win. Make sure you subscribe to this Startup Streams Serial Entrepreneurship podcast to learn more about this onboarding presentation and I’ll give some real world examples I use to explain how we at Startup Streams act, work, think and win. 

I then finish our onboarding presentation with a quote from Seth Godin, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” This aims to inspire our new hires, whilst also reiterating our collective mindset about what we wish to accomplish; that being relations, stories and magic.


Get your new hire to work right away

Here are some of my top tips about moving forward after onboarding a new hire:

It is always important to give a new hire tasks right away. Get them engaged right from the start, whilst kickstarting their productivity for your company. 

You hired a new staff member for a specific reason, now fulfil that reason as soon as possible - almost as soon as you set expectations. 

When training new staff, you need to make sure you challenge them. You can use time restraints or goals to act as a measure for a new hire to aim for.

Make sure you always acknowledge great work. Use the carrot, not just the stick as they say. This will help encourage a positive and hardworking environment. 

I have a quick pro tip for you, I use when speaking to my team: Make sure that you use “we” instead of “I”, or “my” when talking about your business. This helps install a strong feeling collectiveness - “we’re in this together”.


Case study from a teacher: Don’t smile

I also have another tip for you; you can choose to take it or leave - I personally don’t use this tip - but thought I’d include it as I still find it interesting. I remember reading an interview with a high achieving teacher. And they said that their secret to success when teaching a class is to not let any of the students see you laugh or smile for at least the first month. You may think this would give you a first wrong impression, but I remember the teacher says they do this so that the class knows you are a serious person and it trains the class to do what they are told without ever become to relaxed and informal. They go on to say that they then loosen up after month one, the class can feel more relaxed and can therefore enjoy the teaching more but from that moment, whenever the teacher asks the class to do something, they inherently know that the teacher is serious and will do so without question. I believe this installs a great sense of respect. Now, I have always wanted to try this in the past, but to be honest is against my nature to do so. But feel free to try and let me know how it goes?


Frequently asked questions:

  1. Should I customise the hiring process for each different role? Yes absolutely. you need to make sure each applicant is competent at the job role you are hiring for. You can only do this by asking questions relevant to the job they are applying for. That said, you may wish to add some basic questions to everyone to help you to install the right mindsets and attitudes throughout your team in the same way i ask everyone “who do you keep up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices?”
  2. What is the average time to fill a job posting? I usually start the hiring process 1 month out from when I wish for them to start. I know 1 month may not be too long for all roles, actually, as some people in higher level job positions need to give 3 or even 6 months notice to leave their current roles, but for basic marketing roles, I find that I get 100 quality applicants within 3-5 days respond to me, then the rest of the time allows for you to message screening questions, hold zoom calls etc…
  3. What is the average cost per hire? I usually spend around £100 per hire. Remember that although registered in the Uk, Startup Streams is based in Indonesia where the cost per lead is cheaper. I think a good ratio would be spending between 20-50% of the new hire’s monthly wage on finding the right applicant. However, I know some larger companies spend a lot more than this, but as you are running a lean startup, you I know you’ll need to watch every penny. 


Key takeaways:

A quick note about how I feel is best to hire and lead:

You need to make sure that you, as the team leader, are approachable to aid with communication within the team - team members may hide bad news from you if they think you can’t handle it which his never a good thing - and you need to make sure that you embrace your team members in their specialist roles. Don’t hire an SEO expert, then assume you know more than them. If you do, why did you hire them in the first place? A team is supposed to strengthen you by reinforcing your weaknesses and skillset deficiencies. If you have truly hired an A team, you must trust them all to fulfil their jobs without being micromanaged. 

I wish you the best of luck with hiring out your dream team…

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