Five Tips For Building A Successful Startup Team

Richard Allen Inc
5 min readFeb 9, 2023


When it comes to launching and scaling a startup into a success, no one can do it alone. Success is always the result of a collaborative effort. Even if you know your business from front to back, the simple fact is that one person will never have the time to do everything. There will always be others with fresh ideas and highly specialized skills who can take you in new and exciting directions.

One of the most important steps in launching a startup is choosing the right team because the people you choose to work with can make or break your venture. Over my 20-year career, I have been involved in a variety of startups. Some of them went on to become successful, while others didn’t stand the test of time. Below, I’ll go through some key things I’ve learned about the teams that made the difference between success and failure.

1. Hire self-starters with more than one skill.

In the early days of any project, you want people around who can wear many hats and work without constant guidance. While it is important to have team members who can complete assigned jobs and responsibilities, you will get more value when your team can also be proactive. Self-starters will identify areas for improvement and come with ideas for how these improvements might be made.

While specialized skills are important, I also suggest looking for candidates with a broad set of skills. For instance, you might hire a graphic designer with excellent writing and communication skills or a programmer with some experience in animation. In a larger, established company, it can make sense to hire someone with one specific skill and plug them into a spot. However, the startup environment is far more dynamic, and collaboration among different departments becomes much easier when your team is made up of people with well-rounded skill sets.

2. Choose a diverse team with core values in mind.

When you are choosing from a long list of candidates, you will often have dozens of qualified applicants for any given position. Often, you won’t be able to narrow the field based on skills alone. You need core values and a long-term vision.

Some examples of value statements are Google’s “focus on the user and all else will follow” and Uber’s “value ideas over hierarchy.” Before beginning the hiring process, it is important to decide upon the identity you are striving toward. You can design interview questions to determine the candidates who share these values.

That being said, you should also make an effort to hire a team with diverse backgrounds, personalities and work styles. Having a diverse team can help your project see the whole picture.

3. Remain flexible regarding roles and responsibilities.

It’s also important to stay flexible with roles. Sometimes a person might be hired for a particular job, but, over time, it becomes clear their role can be adapted to create additional value.

For example, in one startup I worked at, we hired a programmer who I’ll call “Steve.” Steve was very good at his job, but it quickly became apparent that he was also an excellent coordinator, communicator and leader. The executives noticed this and promoted Steve to a leadership role as the programming team expanded. He excelled in this expanded role and was a big part of the success this company went on to enjoy.

4. Consider using contractors when the situation calls for it.

Remember that you don’t need to hire full-time employees to fulfill every need. This can result in having financial obligations to more people than you can find work for. I recommend making a list of the required jobs and tasks and taking the time to determine if they are one-time needs, recurring daily or weekly tasks or things that can be done on a set schedule (e.g., twice a year). Outsourcing to contractors might be more a cost-effective option to consider than hiring employees. You will be able to delegate certain tasks while also optimizing your budget, which is critical in the early stages of a business.

When dealing with contractors, it is important to perform due diligence. Be sure to ask for references, and ask around within your industry for second opinions. I recommend structuring contracts based on concrete and measurable goals and avoiding hourly rates.

5. Keep your plan adaptable to market conditions.

In the world of traditional business, it is the standard operating procedure for properly managed companies to track their labor costs and look ahead to keep these costs in line with changing conditions. When I crossed over into the world of blockchain, I was surprised to learn that many projects don’t hold themselves to this same standard. I’ve seen many blockchain startups launched during bull markets when investor and user interest are high. This can give project founders a false sense of security and lead them to overhire and spend less time making operational contingency plans that are required when market conditions change.

In a startup, you should always keep clear records of every employee and contractor you have financial obligations to, what their responsibilities are, and your total monthly and yearly costs based on this information. This will provide you with an overview that can be used to make strategic decisions about when to expand and contract the size of your team.

If a project is launched during a bear market, you will likely adopt many of these practices automatically. These projects can run into the opposite problem if you don’t make a plan regarding how you will expand.

Take the time to determine the needs of your project, its core values and how needs will change based on the larger state of the world and the industry. Find well-rounded and diverse team members, adapt their roles based on their strengths and keep your mind open to the use of third-party contractors when it makes sense.




Richard Allen Inc

Richard Allen Inc is a prominent marketing and sales firm in White Plains, NY, dedicated to succeeding and blogging.