Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

People Management – Best Practices

August 25th, 2011 Comments off

As a startup entrepreneur, having effective people management skills is an important priority and one that will ensure continued growth and success for years to come. Obviously many of the best practices for people management being applied in large businesses and conglomerates can and do cross over into startup companies, however there are certain strategies which should be emphasized and catered to within the entrepreneurial environment. Among these are:

Involving your employees in the development of the business – this is what working for a startup is all about and a main reason why an individual chooses to work for a startup. Everyone wants to feel that their input matters and that they are helping build something.

Communication with all levels of employees is another element that sets a startup apart from larger businesses. Employees want to cultivate a relationship with upper management and owners as this makes them feel closer to the action and that they are cared about as well.

Startups can also offer flexible work and policies that cater to equality and diversity. Entrepreneurial companies can be far more fluid with the scheduling of work and company policies and thus offer a more flexible environment that can be designed to their own schedule.

Another advantage startups have for employees is the ability to easily reward for reaching set targets and offering training and development support that will also increase the value and skills of employees while also increasing their confidence.

By engaging in all these management best practices, your fledgling company will grow exponentially and your employees will grow and develop into real and valuable assets. As a startup owner you can offer your employees a closer relationship, more flexibility, better working environment, and foster that entrepreneurial spirit within everyone that will reap rewards over and over again.

Job Seekers: Choosing the Right Startup for Employment

August 17th, 2011 Comments off

If you’re like some 40 million unemployed Americans, finding employment is the first priority in your life. Considering the hundreds of startup companies developing and expanding each year, it might be time for you to broaden your job market scope to include this fast rising business sector. Working for a startup has many advantages including possible equity in the company – look how many millionaires work at Google because they started there when the company was just a startup.

When choosing the best startup to seek employment, there are a number of factors you need to consider to ensure a successful and long-lived opportunity. The first factor to scrutinize would come with an investigation of the economic and financial stability of the business. It is important to make sure the startup is financial sound currently and for future growth by researching the history of the company – owners, funding sources, profitability and how these are all utilized within the structure.

Next, it is imperative to research the reputation of the company by delving into the reputation of the business including past, present and future project successes and failures, while also getting an industry perspective from competing businesses.

A third and critical factor is to review the compensation package thoroughly. Many startups offer equity in the business in lieu of either all or a portion of the salary. This may sound great, however it could take years before any real profits are achieved, thus knowing whether this is financially feasible is crucial.

Additionally, it may be necessary to ask about support staff (if any) and who else works for the business and what their role is within the company. Ideally, all of the pieces will mesh together to form a cohesive entity that will offer a pleasant and rewarding employment opportunity. Working for a startup can be very exciting, frustrating, and exhilarating all at once with each day offering a different and new experience for any new hire.

Interviewing Skills 101

July 31st, 2011 Comments off

Regardless of the job market, having effective interviewing skills is paramount if you wish to go from potential candidate to new-hire. A good interview is comprised of several components including physical appearance, communication skills, and positive energy flow.

Positive Energy Flow

Positive Energy Flow

Physical appearance for an interview dictates wearing a suit, polished shoes, neatly trimmed hair and nails, no over powering fragrances, no gum chewing or tobacco smoking, limited to no jewelry, fresh breath, and an organized portfolio. Your portfolio should contain at least 5 copies of your current resume, your previous employment history including addresses, phone numbers, and supervisor names. Also have three references listed. Make sure you have two working pens and pencils with you as well as note paper to use during the interview.

Communication skills include preparation and knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses and how to emphasize or minimize them (know who you are and why you would be an asset to this company), have extensive knowledge of the company and the employment opportunity under discussion, always make good eye contact with the interviewer, no fidgeting, be an attentive listener, honesty is imperative, asking questions is vital to understanding and making an accurate response, and always be relaxed. Answer all questions fully, do not hem and haw, and do not give short single syllable responses whenever possible.

Positive energy flow is your attitude, affability, and demonstrativeness and it requires a careful balancing act that should be undetected by the interviewer. Be candid, natural, pleasant, confident, out-going, and easy to talk with. Do not be over-bearing, over-powering, arrogant, cocky, demeaning, or flippant as all of these traits are negative energy. People tend to be drawn to friendly, happy, positive people and often shy away from those who are quiet, sullen, and negative. If you are naturally shy, work on becoming more out-going and relaxed.

Interviewing is nerve-wrecking enough when you are fully prepared; don’t make the mistake of not handling all your due-diligence prior to walking in the door. Your behavior, communication, and body language will always give away your lack of preparedness and the interviewer will know it. Preparation is the key to achieving a successful interview – make sure your physical appearance, communication skills, and positive energy flow place you in the position of being the new-hire.

Always Be Hiring (ABH)

October 13th, 2009 Comments off

I often hear that startups are waiting for some event to start building their team. Sometimes they are waiting to raise capital; other times they don’t feel a need.

As a take-off of the saying “Always Be Closing” (ABC) by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, startup companies should “Always Be Hiring” (ABH).

I’ve found that the best startups are always looking to hire the best and brightest that would also fit with their small team’s culture. If they wait to hire after a capital raise or they are drowning in work, they are already behind the curve. This lack of foresight can result in loosing a competitive edge.

Being proactive in team building process by constantly searching for the best matches, startups can outpace the competition and drive their companies towards success.

Trials & Tribulations

May 23rd, 2008 Comments off

Well… we got some great press from Web Worker Daily (Thanks Bob!) and had a lot of interest at a demo table at SFBeta, only to find out that the mail server decided to no longer accept the login credentials from the application. As a result, any part of the application that sends mail externally failed. This includes the registration form, password retrieval form and contact form.

We have figured out that the messaging server knew traffic would increase and instinctively decided to no longer accept requests. The messaging server has been reprimanded, and has promised it wouldn’t pull a stunt like that again.

The good news is we had everyone’s email address that tried to sign-up, and have resent your registration email with your password. If you haven’t received your registration email, please enter your email address in the forgot password form or contact us and we will resend it to you.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate you using StartupAgents.

Flasher vs Smolderer

May 12th, 2008 Comments off

flasher vs smoldererI attended Sun’s StartupCamp last week and one of the sessions focused on finding a co-founder or early team members. One of the interesting comments made was to figure out if you are a flasher or smolderer and pick your compliment.

A flasher was described as someone that wears their emotions on their sleeve. When a dispute arises, the flasher will immediately make their discontent known. If both members of the team are flashers, the dispute could escalate quickly and emotions will rise to the occasion. The end result would possibly be the end of the working relationship, especially if the disputes continue. When a flasher and smolderer engage in a dispute the smolderer wouldn’t emotionally charge the situation, resulting in a higher probability that a resolution can be reached.

Smolderers, on the other hand, generally keep their emotions to themselves and have strong suppressed feelings. One day the built-up emotions could come out at an inopportune time or possibly never. If two smolderers are working together, there is the potential for unspoken animosity to eventually ruin the working relationship. When you are looking for team members that you will be working with closely, figure out what kind of person you are and try to avoid someone with the same personality trait.


May 2nd, 2008 1 comment

We had some fun handing out candy (and flyers) before the Iron Man show sponsored by TechCrunch at the Metreon last night. We weren’t able to make it into the movie, but heard some great reviews afterwards and plan to see it this weekend. We also got a nice response from folks in line and after the movie. Now I just need to get that Black Sabbath song out of my head.

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