Wanna Build A Great Startup?

pay close attention to what ‘’Samuel’’ wrote below

Samuel Chukwunonso Eze | Founder and CEO, OurPass

Hey T-Tribe
It’s a new week.
Cheers to a productive week ahead.

Today we have great tips for you from Samuel Chukwunonso Eze, Founder and CEO, Ourpass, a startup providing an alternative solution to ease online shopping and last-mile delivery experiences through one-click checkout technology. He has a degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and has always believed in the application of technology to solve critical consumer problems. Prior to founding OurPass, he worked at Acti-Tech LTD, Huwaei Technologies, Procter & Gamble, and was CEO of ParkCrowdy

He shared three great tips for building a successful startup

When founders are building a startup, there is a tendency to get extremely excited about the product or service that they intend to offer to the market, to the extent of turning a blind eye to other issues which are at least equally crucial to the potential success of the business, and sometimes even more so. Legal issues are the typical example – a startup starts off on a shaky legal foundation and ends up shutting down due to avoidable regulatory or contractual issues. The quality of the startup team is even more common, accounting for up to 60% of startup failures, according to a Harvard Business Review study. That stands to reason, given that regardless of the quality of the idea, products, or service a startup is providing, a lack of cohesion and drive among the team will inevitably lead to poor execution. As everyone who has ever been involved with a startup before knows very well, execution is everything.

The following are some of the tips that I have found to be most valuable building my startup team at Ourpass, and which I believe would help any startup build a formidable team that will be well placed on the path to success:

1. Leverage Your Network

When you have identified a skill gap that needs to be filled in the company, it can be tempting to just go on LinkedIn, post the vacancy and wait for the applications to stream in, but that’s probably not the best approach. Not only will this likely burden you with a load of applications to sift through, but it will also deprive you of the opportunity to find someone within your network. The advantage of finding someone through recommendations is that you basically get the first aspect of employee screening for free because the recommendations will be made by people who know you and your company, and who can match those characteristics with other people in their networks. It’s important to be cautious when asking for recommendations, however, to mitigate the risk of hiring someone simply based on how much respect you have for the referee. You must always be ready to politely decline if someone is not the best fit. You must always be sure to get a diverse team and avoid building a team of people who all think in the exact ways. Several studies, including from McKinsey, have shown that diversity in teams encourages creativity, which in turn contributes to a startup’s overall success.

2. Dot the Legal I’s and Cross the T’s

Employment contracts are a blind spot for many startups. Founders tend to focus on the contracts with suppliers, customers, and partners as the “big” contracts that are worth focusing on while treating employment contracts as “minor” contracts that can just be signed without too much thought. After all, we’re all friends and have a great company culture so there’ll be no problems, right? Wrong. In reality, employment contracts can become very contentious, and worse still, are more often than not decided in favour of the employee due to the notion that the employer was in a stronger position during the negotiation process. Hence, it’s crucial to ensure that employment agreements are drafted with immense attention to detail, spelling out exactly what the startup and the employee are agreeing to regarding compensation, benefits, stock options etc. It’s also important that the contracts must be in full compliance with the labour laws and regulations of the country and state where the company operates.

3. Optimize your Culture

Generally, startups in the early stage will be unable to offer the same compensation packages as larger, more established companies, in terms of salaries and perks, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to get top talent. What startups can do is optimize the work culture at the company such that it’s attractive enough for highly talented employees, many of whom are disenfranchised with the culture at larger organizations anyway. Here, things like flexibility with work hours and location would likely be a major draw, which is why, at OurPass, we introduced both to ensure our staff could work at maximal efficiency while remaining comfortable. That has led to us having a team based in various locations in Nigeria and even abroad. Optimizing the work culture is one thing though but making sure that potential employees are aware of it is quite another. While promoting the products and services the company offers must still be the focus of the marketing team, there should also be some effort allotted to employer branding, to show the ‘behind the scene’ experience of working at the company and promoting the culture, to make sure that the kind of employees you’re looking for actually see and can be convinced by it.

There you have it,
Pay attention to the seemingly minute details
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You can hit up Samuel on Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter

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We’re creating opportunities and designing experiences for early stage African founders to move from 0 to 1

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