By Theadora Alexander
When I visit brands, I always find it fascinating to learn about the ways in which different founders go about building their teams. Depending on the experience, the background and even the personality type, founders take wildly different paths to reach the same end goal – the right people in the right role at the right time.
I get asked all the time what the right model is. The truth is, I do not see a right or wrong – it always comes down to the business the founder wants to build. That being said, in my experience there are three popular routes.
Johnny – the lean operator
Johnny loves his product and is great at sales. He wishes he could spend all day working on the marketing and brand – ‘the fun stuff’. He wants to build a profitable and valuable business quickly but does not get excited by people management or the chance to build a team. Instead, he wants to ensure he has teams around him that can move as quickly as he needs, that know what they are doing and most excitingly, take it entirely off his plate. That is why he works with an outsourced team for supply chain, manufacturing, finance, design, digital marketing, PR and more. These are often agencies but if he needs a deeper relationship, he might bring in consultants too. For Johnny, it means he can focus on what he is good at and not spend unnecessary time thinking about the rest.
Amanda – the nurturer
Amanda has always wanted to run her own business and a huge part of that is the culture that she can create for the people that work with her. She loves people management and the idea of her team constantly growing. But, because she does not have very deep pockets she can only hire quite junior people into the team – people she throws in the deep end to learn on the job. Amanda believes these people pick things up very quickly and enjoys the process of teaching so is absolutely fine with it. She may spend a little more on training courses than Johnny, but she also feels she is surrounded by ambition and hunger which keeps the business thriving. If given the choice, Amanda would hire 3 field sales executives rather than one SNAM.
Sarah – the need for speed
Sarah has just raised some capital and wants to move now. She has considered Johnny’s model and while it is tempting (particularly for the central functions), Sarah would rather have a team herself. But unlike Amanda, Sarah does not feel she has the time or patience to nurture people – she wants people in her business who can add value from day one. So, Sarah hires senior people across sales, finance, marketing, supply chain and product. This means she can focus on her priorities and not worry about the rest of the team knowing what they are doing. One day, she knows she will need some junior support for her senior team but the nurturing can be done by the managers – not Sarah – this gives her a sense of relief.
Are you Johnny, Sarah or Amanda? …