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If you’re on the path to entrepreneurship, you’ve probably considered hiring a team to support your business. Though hiring a team is a vital step for the growth of any business or organization, knowing who, when and how to hire can make or break a company’s hiring process. In this article, I will explain five ways you can build on your strengths and weaknesses to build a powerhouse team.
1. Understand your core competencies
Before your business makes its first sale, you need to understand your business’s reason for existing in the first place. This can be done by asking yourself (and subsequently answering) the following questions:
- What problem does my business seek to solve?
- Who/which consumer market(s) am I solving this problem for?
- What product and/or service do we use to solve this problem?
- How does our product/service solve this problem in a better/unique way?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will understand your business’s core competencies. These are the advantages your business possesses by operating within a designated market. Understanding your core competencies is the first step in hiring a team that compliments your strengths and weaknesses, but the next step is to recognize and identify the areas your business needs improvement.
2. Acknowledge your caveats
Strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin — one cannot exist without the other, and understanding your strengths is crucial insofar as acknowledging where you, your business and your team members are lacking.
Just as asking the aforementioned questions can help you understand your strengths and your business’s core competencies, asking questions such as the following can help you recognize and identify areas for improvement:
- Has our company performed a SWOT analysis within the last 3 months, and if so, what were the weaknesses and threats identified within it?
- Has our business conducted any feedback surveys or questionnaires from customers, and if so, what are some of the common complaints we received?
- How can our business up its performance and/or offerings to better match ourselves against existing and potential competitors?
After asking and answering these questions — and preferably backing up the answers with solid data — you can then move on to the next step in hiring the best team to compliment your business.
3. Build your business upon your core competencies
Just as each business needs a reason for existing (i.e., a unique way to solve a consumer problem), each business possesses its own set of core competencies or advantages. These advantages should be the foundation of your business and serve as a launching pad for your organization’s growth.
One of the quickest ways to identify your business’s advantages is to recognize what type of entrepreneur you are, and how your own operating processes can impact your business. For example, are you a “builder” who drives decisions of strategy, or more of an “opportunist” entrepreneur akin to Sir Richard Branson who is internally hard-wired to sniff out new means of earning revenue? Perhaps you’re more of an “innovator” entrepreneur, like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, who is committed to a vision of inventing and creating to make improvements in society?
Whatever type of entrepreneur you are, understanding which type you are and why will have a lasting impact on your business and its strategy. In better understanding your own core competencies, you will better understand those of your business and be able to create a hiring strategy reflective of this. Once you have a firmer grasp of the core competencies you and your business possess, look internally to see those possessed by your other current team members.
4. Identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses
Now that you have successfully identified the advantages and caveats of your business, you can begin to do the same for your team members. One of the quickest and easiest ways to go about this is by conducting internal personality assessments, which can grant you deeper insight into the working strengths and weaknesses of each member on your team.
While making these assessments can be time-consuming, there are a number of tools you can use to more effectively identify your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, such as the DISC Profile Assessment and the Predictive Index Talent Optimization platform.
The next step in the process is, rather than hiring a team solely to match those competencies, hiring in order to fill the gaps between you and your business’s key advantages
5. Hire your team to fill in the gaps
Now that you have a much deeper understanding of your own personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your employees and your organization as a whole, you can begin outlining your hiring process to both support your strengths and fill in the gaps from the weaknesses you’ve identified.
With a clear understanding of your business’s core competencies and caveats alike, you will be better prepared and positioned to hire a team based on the data you have gathered on both of these values. For instance, if your business is looking to hire a VP of Marketing and has no current competitors that can match the performance of your offered service or product, all candidates you interview should be able to offer unique insight on how they can best prepare your company for emerging competition. Likewise, in understanding how you, your business and your current team members operate individually and as part of a team, you will be able to better understand how candidates you interview may operate with your other employees.
The overarching goal of this process is to hire candidates and team members who, rather than being exactly like you or your existing team, can offer fresh perspectives and talents that compliment your existing strengths as well as fill the gaps of your business’s identified weaknesses. In doing this, you can prevent getting bogged down by working in the areas you and your team are not as well-versed in, and instead provide value in other areas of your business.
Hiring a team of talented employees whose skills are most relevant and valuable to your business is inherently a difficult task. That being said, it doesn’t always have to be. In being honest with yourself and your team as to the areas your business needs improvement on, your employees and hiring candidates alike are more likely to be open and real in their communication to you.