The path to success as a solo founder can be tough, but it’s not impossible. To make things easier, here are some tips and strategies you can use in building a sustainable team as your business grows.
You’ll want to develop these strategies as soon as possible so that you don’t find yourself understaffed and underperforming later down the line. So, start reading and learning now!
Take Time to Hire
Even as you’re getting off your feet, take time to hire—even if you don’t have a budget. It’s critical that you understand how many hours you can personally sustain (and support) to ensure your business is sustainable for months and years ahead. After all, it doesn’t matter how much work gets done if you aren’t around later on.
What is the easiest way to do this? Ask friends or acquaintances if they’d like to work with you part-time. There are plenty of talented individuals who are happy to help small businesses get off their feet.
And it’s easier than ever to find them—try posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks. You might also consider hiring an intern from a local university; many students need work experience for their resume and will be eager to learn more about your industry.
Ensure Fair Wages
While one of your main goals as a solo founder is to minimize expenses, you don’t want your team members to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. You can avoid that by paying fair wages and taking your time hiring to make sure people are passionate about what they do and will stick with you long-term.
(See also: What Is a Fair Salary for an Intern?)
A good rule of thumb is to pay at least $10 per hour for entry-level positions (or higher if you have specific high-demand skill sets). That way, even if someone doesn’t work out for whatever reason, it won’t be too much of a financial hit.
If you’re concerned about being able to afford fair wages, keep in mind that building your team is likely one of your highest costs and one of your greatest sources of revenue. These people will be helping you in building a sustainable team for your business—it’s only fair that they get compensated fairly for their time and efforts.
(See also: How Much Should You Pay Employees?)
Provide Performance-Based Rewards
Since your company likely does not have much cash lying around, it’s better for you to give employees performance-based rewards. This encourages them to continue working hard in order to obtain their reward. For example, you can offer points or extra time off for employees who hit milestones with your business. Doing so will encourage them to do what they can in order to get that additional perk.
Even if you have a lot of cash, it’s still not always best to pay employees with cash. In fact, some experts believe that offering only cash-based incentives could actually cause employees to work less hard because they don’t want their wages cut or frozen when their employer isn’t making as much money. Offering performance-based rewards encourage your employees and colleagues to go above and beyond in order for them to receive their rewards, even if there is no money involved.
Delegate to build a sustainable team
Working solo doesn’t mean working alone. Find people who can do what you can’t or don’t want to, and delegate. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you allow others to help. Remember that it doesn’t matter if they work on your business full-time or part-time if they are paid or volunteer—if they are adding value, let them in.
As you begin thinking about who you want on your team, set some ground rules. The first is that as a solo founder you must never, ever do something that someone else can do for you. If it’s part of your job, delegate it (or hire someone to do it full-time).
You don’t have time to be a jack-of-all-trades—you need to focus on what you are good at and what matters most. Your business will suffer if you try to wear every hat in your startup. Remember: It doesn’t matter how busy you are—it only matters how productive you are! So make sure everyone on your team knows their role and how they contribute toward reaching company goals.
Keep the New Hires Motivated-building a sustainable team
To ensure that you’re building a sustainable team on board, it’s important to inspire them and keep things exciting. Find time every day for each employee, one-on-one. In addition, plan events outside of work: happy hours with colleagues or company outings can help build rapport within your team and remind everyone why they love their jobs.
While keeping your staff motivated is important, you needn’t go overboard—you don’t want your team spending all of their time at work. Consider setting aside one day each month as a fun Friday, where everyone can dress casually and participate in something they enjoy doing as a group.
This will help them feel appreciated and remind them that there are other things besides work! You should also ensure that your employees have flexible schedules so they can spend time with family or friends if necessary.