Building a lean and efficient team

How to build a lean and efficient team and the first 5 employees you should hire

5 min read
A strong team stands at the heart of any enterprise's success. This approach applies equally to both startups and multinational corporations. A team exists so that an endeavour may develop, scale, and thrive in a manner that would be physically impossible for a single individual to do.

A startup can have all the promise in the world, but "people issues" can derail it faster than anything else. In a study on the success of startups, venture investors attributed 65 percent of firm failures to difficulties inside the startup's management team. This statistic demonstrates that behind every successful business is a group of enthusiastic individuals working passionately towards a common objective. Regardless of how great your idea is, assembling a team for your business is the first step toward success.

Without a doubt, the most important factor in the success or failure of a firm is its founding team. Ideas may pivot and adapt as the business expands; capital may reduce and the market will always be in flux with an endless supply of competitors. The company's DNA is, however, the team that puts everything together.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we? Let's dissect what constitutes the ideal founding team!

Company culture

Ensure that the individuals you choose represent your company's mission, vision statement, and culture. It's just as important to find people with the right values as it is to find people with the right skills because they will affect the culture of the company.

Diversity is a source of strength for any business, but it's crucial that the team has common values and can work effectively together. As your team expands, you must set aside time to discuss, agree upon, and align with the sort of organization you desire. Your culture and team will be the foundation of your continuing success.


After qualified applicants have been narrowed down, you may conduct interviews. An interview will provide insight into the applicant’s perspective on the job. You may also use this opportunity to inquire about their wage expectations throughout the startup's early phases. At this time, do not hesitate to be selective.

Even if you are employing an acquaintance, formalize the employment by presenting a job offer and completing additional paperwork.

When it comes to hiring for a startup, "Less is more" should be your mantra. The objectives of team building that come into play throughout the hiring process are to prioritize quality above quantity.

Make your team cross-functional

Although the team's size is small, this does not imply that its skill set should also be limited. Cross-functionality is a characteristic of lean teams. Members should possess a variety of skills and/or represent various divisions within the organization.

To build a cross-functional team, you must first determine which departments are required to achieve real progress without roadblocks. A basic example of an industrial project would include a product designer, a person with production knowledge, and a salesman who understands consumer demands. In contrast, a software project will require a software engineer, a designer, and a marketing expert. There are many variations depending on the task at hand.

The first 5 key roles you should hire

The employees you hire will depend on the unique demands of your business, but every individual you choose should possess the following qualities: adaptability, enthusiasm, and dependability. Until you can develop further, employ individuals who can handle a variety of tasks.

Certain positions within a startup will need to be filled immediately. Here are six essential roles to consider:

1. Chief Technology Officer (”CTO”)

A team member with expertise in technology and development is essential to the success of your organization, particularly for tech startups. It is important, your team has someone with technical skills to If your team expands, you can divide this function into two independent positions.

It is best to have someone with the ability to determine what would work best for a business and oversee the integration and administration of several systems. They will need to take into account hardware, software, and mobile technologies.

2. Chief Marketing Officer (”CMO”) and Community manager hybrid

This team member will concentrate on how your consumers perceive your product or service. It is vital to hire a marketing and promotion specialist to ensure that your vision reaches a large audience.

Until you can grow, a marketing manager should be capable of writing copy, designing the material, coding landing sites, running ad campaigns, and handling social media marketing.

They should also communicate with your customers and serve as an interim community manager in order to preserve great ties between your business and its customers.

3. Head of Sales/Business Development

This team member will concentrate on generating new leads and producing revenue for your business. A qualified sales manager with expertise in your field will not normally need extensive training to generate leads and exclusive deals. This is perhaps the most difficult post to fill, but it is well worth the time and effort to do so.

4. Product manager

The product manager will be your go-to on all things related to your product. This team member manages the product strategy, vision and development. They typically work closely with the engineering and marketing teams to create your product and market your products. Post-product launch, they are able to take user feedback and communicate changes to the engineering team to improve the product

5. Customer service

Providing excellent service to customers is a vital skill that must be mastered by every successful company. The foundation of your brand is establishing strong interactions with consumers and clients.

It does not matter how excellent your products or services are if your organization cannot communicate with its consumers and clients efficiently. Without a trained individual to handle customer inquiries, calls, and issues, your reputation will inevitably suffer. You will need to fill this position promptly.

Employees wearing multiple hats

Working for a startup is different from working for an established business. Startups are often strapped for resources, and they tend to grow and change at a rapid rate. Because of this, the daily responsibilities of employees often evolve in tandem.

Startups should hire multitalented employees who are flexible and ready to take on new projects as needed. Startups can be unpredictable, so their employees should thrive in changing environments, as opposed to seeking repetition and stability.

How to identify the best individuals for your startup

Since every new employee may have a significant influence on a business, it is crucial to choose trustworthy individuals. Word-of-mouth and personal referrals are the most effective methods for recruiting early employees. Make contact with former coworkers, acquaintances, and alumni of your alma mater to locate the initial prospects.

If it doesn't yield the desired results, a specialized recruitment firm is a viable option for finding candidates with the particular talents and expertise you want. Good agencies will have contacts in the relevant sector of the market and should be able to assist you in finding suitably skilled people.
© Figg Africa 2022. All right reserved