Sunday, April 29, 2007

Energy of Startup Teams

You have heard me talk about how I love the energy of Startup teams.

I want to share some thoughts about how to cultivate and grow the startup team energy.

Everyone who has been with a startup as an entrepreneur or an employee in early stages knows how the speed of the environment and limitlessness of the air, sometimes frustrates with too many directions.

As startup founders, we all go about alone or huddling with co-founders in rounds proving the viability of our concept, building prototype and raising money, then the fun begins as you start scaling the team.

Its amazing every time how the dynamics changes with each new person brought on board - new ideas, new energy, lot of chaos with communication and direction.

There is a growing up for startups which has to be done with awareness to let the startup energy burst open. I see 3 areas particularly:

1. Founders get used to being every employee for the startup doing all work and when new employees come on board, its hard to transition work to let go efficiently. I go back to my favorite advice of making a milestone chart for different functional areas so you can scale each separately and let go as you find the resources for each.

2. Founders and initial employees are used to be internal focused, pitching their vision, focusing on building product to showcase the concept that when the time is right to switch to a market facing mode, it is hard on everyone. A startup that operates in stealth mode and opens up with a friends and family beta and launches formally gets time to grow organically out of the internal to the external phase.

3. The real energy of the teams come through when they face a common goal, not an internal date, but one with feedback from outside, be it users or customers, so commit a date to your investors proactively.

It is so immensely beautiful when the team starts acting like a team when they meet a common goal and start responding to the real market. This phase is usually preceeded by a lot of friction, obvious and not so obvious ones, about direction, about the speed of the company, specific areas of scaling responsibilities, formal and informal communication styles.

If this phase is handled with patience and the common goal to make the startup successful, it will bloom with the full energy of the startup team, which will take care of these and all other growing pains to achieve amazing results breaking barriers with utter creativity and great respect for each other to a great nurturing environment and the startup will truly grow beyond the original entrepreneur to its own living entity.


Weasel1 said...

I was laid off from my programmer job and so I started a startup and then a second startup spun off of that. I'm still trying to raise capital for both. I have included my blog so you can see what I've been through.

Blake Southwood, Founder

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