Tech Mythbusting #6: You Don’t Need A Team To Build A Business

Many entrepreneurs believe the success of their startup lies in their power. They’re so convinced, in fact, they barely take the time to think about their the team they’ll need to create to run their business. We’re here to make the case that a great team is the main driver of a product’s success. 

Many founders dream of building the app that will break all conventions, leave its mark in the history of tech and make the world just a little more interesting. Sometimes the scale differs. Instead of dreaming of the next Facebook, you might dream of making it in your own country, your own industry or your own chosen small niche of the world. 

All of that being said, we want to make a bet with you. If we win, we’ll consider everything fair and square as long as you read to the end of the article. 

This is the bet: in your imaginings of what your future app business will look like and how successful it will be, the faces of the people who are there at your side, making it happen, are a blur. 

Have we got it right?

We’re pretty sure we have. Because most of the founders who reach out to Hyper haven’t thought about the people they will build their business with. The handful who are certain about their idea have only started to think about this topic. And it’s only natural when your idea is in the beginning stages. 

It can become a serious issue, which you notice when you start looking into why startups fail. You’re likely to come upon a much circulated research by CB Insights that showcases exactly how important a good team is.

After analysing 101 startup failure post-mortems, they’ve come to the conclusion that not having the right team is the third most common reason startups fail.

CB Insights infographic

And it doesn’t stop there. Another survey conducted at the end of 2017 by First Round, with over 800 responses, revealed that 3 out of 4 early-stage founders (series A or earlier) say hiring is their number one concern. But the same amount say they spend less than 20% of their time on recruitment.

Everywhere you look, you see aspiring entrepreneurs working on great ideas and valuable business proposals. And all the while, they barely give a thought to the people they will end up working with. It’s an educated guess to say that founders only start thinking about hiring more people when the workload becomes too much.

We’re not sure where this myth of the lone founder who makes it alone has its origins. Our guess is that its birthplace is somewhere between the “winner takes it all” and the “founders’ overnight success stories” myths. But the truth is that no matter how skilful you are, or how great and simple your idea is, there is no way in which you can turn it into a reality on your own as the business grows.

When you start out to build your business alone, you get a one-way ticket towards burnout, disappointment and failure.

Alternatively, when you accept there is more to your app business than you are aware, you are opening the door towards creating a strong team that will exceed your expectations. Yes, you should take pride in your vision. But remember that at the end of the day, imagining is easy. Implementation is the secret to a successful business and for that you are counting on your team. After all, how are you going to be certain of the quality of your execution when there’s no one to check your results after you’ve spent 12 hours working on the same part of your app? 

If you still have doubts on the greatness that lies in having a team, we’ve made a list to break down all the benefits you get in gathering around you people who are good at what they do. 

Building your team is another exercise in validating your product

When you gather a team around you, you are going through a crucial step in establishing yourself as a leader. Don’t think it doesn’t count until you have full-time employees – every person you succeed in bringing on-board and adopting your vision is a win in the ongoing practice of evangelising your goals and getting validation. After all, being a founder isn’t only about building something – it’s about building something with supporters at your side. 

Most importantly, remember that every team member you bring on-board is a spokesperson on your behalf in front of partners, customers or investors. At the end of the day, the way the people closest to you talk about your business is a great insight for said partners, customers or investors in the quality and potential of your work as a founder. 

A team is there to present different perspectives of the same vision 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you generate an idea and spend enough time on it, you know everything there is to it. Truth be told, nothing bursts that bubble faster than having a team that has complementary skills to yours.

A diverse team, listened by an open and humble founder, is what allows a business idea to be analysed and tweaked from all perspectives.

Many times, you will find yourself overwhelmed by the differences or the details you haven’t noticed. But just as often, you will find that when you allow those different perspectives to come together, your business idea will be all the stronger for it. 

A founder must be a jack-of-all-trades, but results come from specialisation 

When you start working on your app idea, whether you have the technical background or not, there’s a steep learning curve in front of you: market research, understanding prototyping, marketing your product, looking for investors, finances, the list is never ending. 

Of course, you can bootstrap your way through all these topics with sheer stubbornness and the recurring crash course. You can even make it to the stage of validating your product and getting it off the ground. But from one point, you will have to admit you are in over your head. No crash course can compete with years of experience and learning. That is why from that moment onward, the success of your app business will depend on building a team that can succeed in the advanced league and bring home the results that will make you sustainable long term.

The team is what saves the game

We like thinking of the startup founder as the Hail Mary of the company, the one person you can go to who will have the solution you need, when you need it. 

Admit it, some days when you daydream about your established business, you see yourself as the second coming of Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey, swashbuckling towards success with lint in your pockets and conviction in your heart.

But the truth is that you, as well as any founder you look up to, is just your average human being, working their ass off to make their vision a reality. And as any respectable human being, you are bound to make some mistakes, ranked from “oops, I think I left the kettle on too long” to “I think I burnt the house down”. 

It’s not realistic to expect one person to carry the load of a successful business. A great founder knows this and strives to gather a strong team around them. Not by looking for people who don’t make mistakes, but by looking for people who will save each other on their bad days. A great founder knows they, too, will also need the occasional back-up. 

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At the end of the day, the team you gather around you as a founder is the secret ingredient you add to the mix of creating a successful app business.

The sooner you recognise that the picture of a successful company isn’t a portrait, but a group photo, the sooner you’ll get to feel for yourself the magic of teamwork.

After all, the greatness of a team is bigger than the sum of its members. So don’t wait until it’s too late: look for the people who are better than you, smarter than you and different from you and together, build something you can all be proud of. 

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