It Takes a Village
Every entrepreneur’s success starts with a vision, a dream. And when it comes to cultivating success in startups, entrepreneurs must remember that they cannot achieve it without a group of people who are willing to help execute the vision, a village. Success indeed moves at the speed of the leader but having the right village will dictate if it is ultimately reached.
I have found that success is built on the collective “we,” rather than “me.” It is not about you; it is about the people. If a startup has locked in on a vision and fully understands that vision, the next step is to begin growing the team, bringing on relentless game-changers and go-getters with unyielding ambition.
It starts with hiring an executive leadership team that goes beyond executing tactics, sparking strategic conversations that are in line with and drive the mission. Our team wakes up obsessing about providing credit unions and community banks with the speed and efficiencies they need to create the ultimate borrower experience and maximize their total addressable market. We understand that technology helps community banks and credit unions lend at the speed of today's borrowers.
There were only three of us when we received our first Series A investment in March 2018 with 47 clients. Today, LenderClose has more than 70 employees and more than 320 clients on the platform. This continued growth could not be possible without everyone’s hard work and passion.
Leadership + Talent
When growing a leadership team, it is crucial to get the right people in place. Entrepreneurs should ask a few questions about the people they are considering:
- Has this person done this before?
- Are they hungry?
- Are they excited?
- Are they aligned on the company’s vision?
- Are they willing to make that vision a priority?
The passion should not stop with the leadership team. All of the “villagers” are important to achieve success. The talent that a startup hires, like product designers, sales development representatives and software engineers, are the key to success. They regularly communicate with customers, and in turn, can communicate back on what those clients want. This leads to more company innovation and pushes the company forward. If there is no passion behind their work, villagers are less likely to listen attentively or think strategically to actively meet the needs of clients.
Communication within the team is crucial to ensure everyone is laser-focused on the mission. Transparency is key in that communication, both with the internal team and the company’s board. The board has a strong role in the company’s success because their experience can help steer it in the right direction. By being transparent with advisors, a startup’s management team can adjust and excel, as well as drive enhancements that better meet the needs of customers.
Keep in mind that advisors can extend outside of the boardroom. Entrepreneurs should never be afraid to ask questions of other founders and entrepreneurs who climbed the ladder. It is important to have a network of “legends” whom you look up to and who have scaled companies even if it isn’t in the same industry. Don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off of these trusted advisors who are powerful resources who can bring fresh ideas and perspectives.
The success of a company truly does take a team internally and externally. People are what carry a startup to success and keep innovating to build on that success. Being humble enough to know that one person cannot do it all will lead to the desired result, a company that effectively provides a service to its clients and benefits its community.
Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need or sign up for Mentor Connection to build relationships with a trusted group of mentors.