The perfect team
SK Farhan Rahman

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Minhaz Anwar, the CEO of Betterstories limited, weighs in on building the perfect team for your startup. Back in 2008, he spent countless nights pondering why people in Bangladesh were unable to take advantage of numerous opportunities in the market, which eventually led him to establish Betterstories Limited. He set out to prove to the world, and especially to himself, that his work mattered, and actively continued to contribute to the society. Minhaz Anwar, along with his team at Betterstories Limited, is trying to change the narrative of Bangladesh and of Asia, one startup at a time. Putting emphasis on the importance of team work, he narrates his story on building the perfect startup team.

Traits in business partners
Success in the early stages depends on the founding partners, and how they conduct themselves. “I’ve learned that building the perfect founding team is still the biggest issue startup founders face,” says Minhaz Anwar. At the beginning, any business is nothing but an idea. To execute said idea, everyone needs to be able to perform a diverse range of functions, and complement and support each other in order to achieve the desired goal. Assuming that the potential partners are qualified enough, here are the unique traits Minhaz Anwar says to look for in your business partners.

Integrity
Any partner operating in full honestly will undoubtedly gain the trust of other people, especially those they work with closely. There are basically three kinds of people you get to know- the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference between them is character.

Whether they like it or not, people with integrity tend to become role models because honesty is a symbol of ethical leadership.

At the same time, trust is something all partners look for when starting a business.

Complementarity
Any additional partners to the business should complement the founders. They should be a tightly knit, well-oiled machine that balances each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Everyone should be aware of each other’s tasks and responsibilities, even the smallest miscommunication between partners could result in disaster. It is of vital importance to search for partners who you know you can work with; partners who can add value to the company instead of just getting in everyone’s way.

Flexibility
Everyone has their own opinion, which can become problematic in some cases if it remains overlooked-and-ignored. A startup’s founding team usually has around 3-5 people working closely, and flexibility becomes a necessity. Many decisions, big or small, needs to be taken quickly at most times, and agreeableness may be a problem. Even if they are out-voted by the other partners, a certain amount of bad blood and hostility may linger, which can be devastating in the long run.

People you should avoid
“Somehow, the bad traits always seem to overshadow the good ones,” adds Minhaz Anwar. Working with certain people with a knack for narcissism and entitlement is always a formula for adversity. Apart from these, there are some people with traits you should equally avoid. Period.

Dishonesty
Not all people will work for the betterment of your startup, and you need to accept that. There are loads of people in the world waiting for the right opportunity to strike, mostly for their own selfish reasons. Dishonest employees with their deceitful ways will undoubtedly create chaos in the workplace, sometimes without your knowledge. Worst of all, dishonest employees might cause great losses to the business if they are somehow working in finance. No startup founder wants to get swindled out of money at great personal loss.

Lack of vision
This is probably the worst mistake any startup founder can make. The vision you have for your business and its future must be shared by your partners and should trickle down to the employees as well. Recruit people with the same ideology, someone whose visions align perfectly with the startup’s vision. There is no reason to take someone in just because they are your best friend, or your family. Teaming up with people whose interests don’t match with the business is merely a cocktail for disaster.

Establishing a line of power
Startups usually start small, with a small team of handpicked personnel. They are a reasonably intertwined group; at first glance, you wouldn’t recognise the CEO from an employee. While getting your hands dirty and working alongside your employees is encouraged, there still needs to be some sort of power establishment, a hierarchy that is followed by everyone.

Ranks, and titles
It’s quite common for startup employees to just be referred as employees. Most don’t bother assigning ranks to these employees, and therein lies conflict. Nobody is sure who is superior to whom, and assigning responsibilities becomes a challenge. Creating a chain of command sets an example, it makes everyone aware of their position. Your employees will know who to report to, who to complain to, instead of just winging everything.

Draw the line
An employee handbook may seem unnecessarily strict for your little startup, however, there must be some rules dictating what exactly is expected from employees, and even the executives. That way, if somebody’s behavior or performance crosses the line, you don’t necessarily have to be the bad guy. The rules will do the work for you.

Effective recruitment methods in Bangladesh
In this tumultuous business world, hiring and retaining top talents is a critical challenge for all startups. There are many effective recruitment methods followed by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to seek out talent- the internet, and employee referrals being the most prominent ones. Other forms being summits and conventions, where you get to meet fellow entrepreneurs and enthusiasts as well.

Internet
In this age of social media, it would be extremely foolish not to utilise it to the fullest. No one reads ads on newspapers anymore, things have become much more digitised. Advertising on the internet allows the business to cast a much bigger net to attract qualified employees. More reach ensures more applicants, ergo, better chances to reel in talented and skilled personnel.

Employee referrals
Existing employees themselves can actively help in the recruitment process because most are often well connected to qualified talents through their professional networks. Employee referrals can exponentially cut down recruitment expenses and it also guarantees the applicants effectiveness in the firm, as they receive firsthand knowledge about the firm’s culture through their relationships with the person who referred them in the first place.

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