How to build the perfect team for your growing company

Things get tricky when you expand your team beyond the founder. New members are a big investment that can sink or save a company, so you want to do – and time – it right. Read on for some helpful tips.

1. Solopreneur vs. a co-founder

The first question to ask yourself when setting up your business, is whether you want to go it alone or look for one or more co-founders. Going solo means having the freedom to decide everything and you’ll get 100% of the return, however that route might not be for everyone. Having one or more co-founders means having people to brainstorm with, splitting the start-up costs and having a range of skills in your company you would otherwise not have. Choosing the right co-founder is similar to dating. You need to be able to spend a lot of time with this person, communicate clearly and have your visions, skills and personalities align.

2. Hire for potential

The team of a young start-up often has to multitask and improvise to cover many areas on a low budget. So hire for potential: not every promising candidate is going to have the exact experience you’re looking for. Try to gauge transferable skills like initiative, level-headedness and creativity that will be useful no matter how your company develops. Don’t put someone who doesn’t understand code in a developer role, but there’s really no need for ultra-specific titles or requirements until the company is much bigger. People will grow on the job if you give them the space and opportunity to mix and mingle different areas.

3. Different opinions are a plus

Don’t choose people too similar to you just because they remind you of yourself. This seems obvious, but it’s actually a very common bias. Not only could you miss out on great employees, your company’s ability to innovate will be crippled if you don’t have dissenting views at least sometimes. It is of course important that a prospective employee’s beliefs align with the core values of your company. Don’t totally throw out company cohesion for the sake of innovation.

4. Staff vs. freelancers

Freelancers can be an attractive option for a start-up that doesn’t have the resources to hire permanent staff, or in a rapidly changing company. Freelancers are usually a smaller investment because they don’t tend to require training or a salary, and far less of a commitment. Staff you hire will be much more committed to the growth of the company than any freelancer. How to balance it all? Use freelancers for short-term, highly specific projects (and using their services again if they satisfy), and hire staff when you want people committed to your company as a whole and in it for the long haul.

5. Bricks and mortar vs. virtual offices

Convenience is the main draw of virtual offices, but they may seem less worthwhile if technical problems prevent important team meetings and company functioning. A bricks-and-mortar office boosts morale and really helps foster a bond between team members, but brings with it complications like rent, location, transport and utilities for the physical office. Perhaps house your core team in a physical HQ and collaborate with others virtually. If your start-up can’t afford to buy or rent an office alone, consider sharing a co-working space with other companies. May we suggest our co.lab co-working spaces?

6. The time is now

When is the right time to expand your company? It’s really a matter of judgement for the founders and/or existing staff. Staff is easiest to hire when your company has plenty of money and is staying on top of its work. With trickier cases, you have to find the balance point in the trade-off between being overwhelmed with work and the fear of spending money on a candidate. Hiring staff on a temporary basis is an excellent idea for a cash-strapped start-up, because it enables you to see what works and what doesn’t. Be mindful of the commitment and compensation gradient from freelancer to intern to temporary staff to permanent staff, and the different roles these employees and contractors can take.

Want to learn more about co.lab’s co-working space? Email us at and we’ll gladly give you a grand tour of the space.