Building Your Supporting Cast
Starting and growing a business is exciting, but one of the hardest challenges is building your supporting cast. I’m talking specifically about your executive team or core team members that help you grow your business, along with choosing outside services to support your organization.
In the beginning it is typically just the entrepreneur who has an idea and a vision for what the business will be. Getting the business started with a solid foundation is critical to its long-term success. Structuring the legal foundation is the first important step. My advice is to pull in the talent of someone who does this ALL the time to help you navigate what type of legal entity you should create (S-corp, LLC, C-corp).
As much as this sounds counter-intuitive, start with the end in mind. What do you want the end game to look like? Is it a legacy company, lifestyle company or do you want to go IPO? All of these questions are important in creating the correct legal foundation. There are tax implications for you personally, so do some homework ahead of time, as there are legal expenses in setting up a company. Getting good advice here is critical.
Next, you want to set up the financial infrastructure. What accounting system/software are you going to use? Remember, data is power and knowing historic information on how much you spend will help you with future pricing and profit margins. If accounting isn’t one of your strong points, make sure to find someone who is good at it and shares your value to add to your team.
Talent acquisition is the final and most important step for your supporting cast. These are the people who buy into your vision and will slave along side you day in and day out.
Start with a great foundation, which is knowing what jobs the people on your bus will be will doing, and writing out a job descriptions ahead of time. Spend some time thinking about what skills these people need to have prior to hiring. Determine minimum requirements for any position you are bringing in-house, and what the actual job is that this person is doing.
Interview, interview, interview. Most of us don’t interview as a career. It is a learned skill. Get some advice ahead of time on what questions you want to ask and what information you need to have from an interview to make an educated decision on your hire.
Check references. Your first several hires are critical to the success of your business. In the beginning everyone feels like they cannot afford to hire anyone other than your cousin, aunt or neighbor. Resist the urge!
Grow With Your Company
As your company grows, so does the supporting cast. Revisit your organization chart frequently to help you with scaling. Think about what your growth strategy is and what people you will need to help you get to the next level. Repeat the legal, accounting and talent acquisition algorithm. As the number of people in your organization grows, so do the problems.
Setting up a good foundation on process, policy and procedures is critical so you don’t build a house of cards. The unanticipated will happen, it always does, so having policies in place ahead of time creates a road map and where your boundaries are.
Think about your culture. This is often overlooked as businesses are starting out and growing. Everyone is so busy just getting the job done that they forget why the company was started. Do some teambuilding and make sure your co-workers understand and get behind the “why” of your company. Reward hard work and try to have some fun along the way.
Lastly, have a couple of trusted people in your inner circle that sit outside of your company to give you counsel and perspective on the issues that arise in your organization. This can be as loosely constructed as an informal mentor meeting on a quarterly basis, to a full-blown structured advisory board. Getting outside perspective is equally important to move you from working In your business to working On your business.
Take home messages: plan ahead. Spend some time thinking about what skill sets you need for your supporting cast and what you can contract out vs. hiring in-house. Really vet people. I know there is a sense of urgency of needing to get someone on your team and feeling overwhelmed in having to do it all yourself.
Help is on it’s way but hiring the wrong person is worse than waiting a bit longer to hire the right person. Begin with the end in mind and try to have some fun along the way.
Donna Milavetz M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
After 20 years of practicing internal medicine, Dr. Milavetz recognized how truly broken our healthcare system was. The traditional fee-for-service model of healthcare was driving up costs, reducing the quality of care, and leaving both patients and doctors dissatisfied.
Dr. Milavetz knew she could do better. She knew she could generate better health outcomes for patients with greater savings for employers using a model that places real value on primary care. She looked for a place to devote her skills to generating better health outcomes AND greater savings. She found it in the employer market and almost without intending to, started OnSite Care–a company that places focus on primary care, and provides patients the care they deserve.
Dr. Milavetz holds a master’s degree in public health from the prestigious University of Minnesota, where she also completed her internal medicine residency. She trained at one of Harvard’s training hospitals and has worked at the Mayo Clinic.