For a startup, hiring the right talent is almost as important as writing a business plan or raising capital. Considering you may only be able to hire one or two employees, finding the right people is critical.
As Founder and Managing Director of NOMAD, Ansel Liu knows a thing or two about what to look for when hiring for a burgeoning business. Xero customer, NOMAD enables entrepreneurs to rent co-working spaces throughout the Greater London area on their online marketplace.
Ansel says they’ve experienced tremendous growth since launch about six months ago.
“We basically launched NOMAD within three months, followed three to four months later with the release of the web app and permanent hires,” Ansel explains. “As a company, we had really aggressive goals and we needed to stick with them.”
Ansel has the right mix of people on his staff (with employee 17 joining soon), but that wasn’t always true. He said the biggest challenge when getting NOMAD off the ground was hiring the right people.
Here are Ansel’s top tips for building a startup team.
1. Background and experience
Determining the kind of background and experience you’re looking for seems like an obvious place to start, but it’s undeniably important. Ansel thought on it and decided he wasn’t interested in employees who’d come from a startup; he explains why.
“I made a conscious decision to hire people who had a background in consultancy and trading,” Ansel says. “The rationale being, the people who have moved from a corporate background have the skills we require and are often hungry to get their teeth stuck into building a business.”
For startups, especially smaller ones, it’s critical to find the most experienced person for the role.
“We don’t have a substantial internal training programme at the moment. Whoever we hire has to hit the ground running,” Ansel details. “I often hire people who have been through business school or have worked at a venture capital firm.”
Want a running start? Hire people who you’ve worked with before, Ansel says.
“The best hire I ever made was my first hire, a chap who I worked with in my previous position,” Ansel remembers. “It was such a key hire for me and it really paid off.”
In order for a startup to thrive, the team needs what Ansel calls the “get stuff done” attitude. The right people need to be willing to pick up anything and everything, even things that don’t fall under their purview.
Of finding someone with the right attitude, Ansel says, “it’s seriously important, but not always easy, to find people with the right attitude.” The same goes for looking at a potential hire’s personality; they need to have the ability to handle anything that gets thrown at them.
3. Personality traits
Working in a startup environment can be stressful at times. There can be long days and late nights to get projects over the finish line. For that reason, Ansel says it’s important for employees to enjoy the fast-paced nature of a startup. They need to not only survive, but thrive under the pressure.
“Often, people come to work for me who were bored in their previous corporate job,” Ansel says. “They want to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves.”
The ability to not only enjoy the high-pressure environment, but prioritise and stay calm at the same time, is key, says Ansel.
“So often people get overwhelmed and can’t keep up,” Ansel explains. “It’s really important that they can prioritise, deliver on time and don’t get overwhelmed.”
Hiring people for your startup who have initiative is key, says Ansel.
Ansel shared that he’s looking to expand NOMAD into other countries in the future, with a focus on Europe first. By the sounds of it, he’s got the right team behind him to do this and more.
If you’d like to get your growing business out of the garage and into a beautiful co-working space, NOMAD is offering all Xero for Startups customers £60 of starting credit. Follow this link to create an account on NOMAD’s website and we’ll add the promo code the first time you make a booking. you can use leftover credit for future bookings.
Sign up for Xero for Startups today to take advantage of this great offer from NOMAD, as well as valuable discounts from other great Xero partners.
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