For any fintech entrepreneur, starting a startup journey begins with finding a capable team. Recruiting the right talents is the cornerstone of any project, as it determines how far you will be able to go. A founder cannot carry their whole business alone.

However, the task of assembling a team is not without its challenges. Statistics indicate that almost 50 percent of startups struggle with finding qualified workers for their teams. Recruitment can be a time-consuming and arduous process in itself, and motivating people in the long term is that much more complex.

So what is a startup founder to do when they want to successfully attract people into their team and retain them over time? What key considerations should be kept in mind during the recruitment process? Here is my take on this subject.

Initial recruitment: What qualities should I look for?

It is fairly obvious that the team plays a decisive role in achieving results for any new startup creating something innovative. I highly doubt that anyone could name even a single successful company created by a “bad” team.

The necessary qualities can make up a long list and depend on a number of factors, often requiring a blend of technical expertise, industry knowledge, and creative thinking. Each member of the team should bring unique skills and perspectives to the table, contributing to the overall success of the venture. Developers create cutting-edge software, financial and legal experts help navigate the nuances of local markets, and PR professionals craft compelling brand messaging – these collective efforts drive progress and innovation.

However, beyond individual skills, having a shared vision is critical to achieving success. Everyone on the team should possess the zeal to create something new that would see clear demand in the market. That demand acts as an obvious indicator that their efforts have meaning and that they are contributing to something important.

When everyone is committed to creating an impactful and valuable product for customers, it fosters a culture of collaboration and resilience in the face of challenges (and there are usually plenty of those). Shared enthusiasm serves to motivate the team to perform at its best and fosters long-term growth opportunities for the startup.

How do I align recruitment needs and financial considerations?

Founders often find themselves constrained by limited financial resources during the startup’s initial stages. To my mind, the bulk of available funds should be directed towards personnel. The core team of developers holds particular significance at this juncture, as they serve as the driving force behind the company’s initiatives.

In situations where cost-cutting measures are necessary, one potential avenue to explore is hiring freelancers on a part-time basis. However, it’s essential to note that your primary focus shouldn’t solely be on reducing costs by hiring cheaper personnel. Instead, I would argue that it is better to secure fewer individuals who can consistently deliver high-quality results despite potentially higher costs.

Additionally, it is crucial to recognize that opting for a team of part-time workers places significant responsibility on you as the founder. Choosing this route results in you having to assume direct control of most internal processes in the company and manage the operations of various departments simultaneously. Juggling these responsibilities can be a considerable challenge, and you must carefully weigh the risks associated with this approach before going forward with it.

Another major aspect of conducting business operations is obtaining the necessary licenses, especially in the fintech sector. Not only do you need to have a legal team on hand to tackle this task, but it will also take a lot of time to figure out and satisfy various strict compliance criteria. This can often be a considerable obstacle to overcome, particularly for early-stage startups.

One thing you can do here is seek out the help of third-party providers. Instead of spending time and money on pursuing an independent license, you can explore partnerships with parties that already have an established infrastructure and the necessary licenses to help you conduct your operations. This way, you can save some of your capital and free up your legal team’s time for other matters.

Employee retention: How do I keep workers motivated?

Earlier, I emphasized the significance of seeking team members who possess genuine enthusiasm for their work and nurturing that enthusiasm is vital for retaining their commitment. There are varying opinions out there on whether founders should make personal sacrifices for the sake of their projects. Regardless of your stance on this matter, it is essential to recognize that the same expectation of sacrifice cannot be applied to other team members.

While founders may be willing to endure financial constraints to drive the company’s growth, employees have different priorities, and it is important that you remember that. For C-level management, the primary measure of the company’s success often lies in its financial prosperity. Consequently, founders may consciously decide to take risks or forego certain comforts to pursue growth opportunities. However, this approach is not feasible or fair to expect from the rest of your employees.

To ensure that your people are fully engaged and committed to the project, it is crucial to prioritize their comfort and well-being. Establishing clear criteria for evaluating their contributions and implementing a transparent reward system are essential components of fostering a positive work environment. By providing a supportive atmosphere, founders can cultivate a loyal and motivated team that is dedicated to the success of their companies.

Final overview

In the tumultuous journey of launching a startup, assembling a capable team stands as one of the most critical challenges. Seeking individuals who share your passion for the venture can be a game-changer. That enthusiasm not only fuels their dedication but also provides your workspace with positivity and creativity. Both are essential traits to have when navigating the uncertainties of the startup landscape, particularly in a field as rapidly shifting as fintech.

In the pursuit of assembling your dream team, don’t overlook the potential benefits of freelance assistance and collaborating with third parties. These options offer flexibility and scalability, allowing you to access specialized skills and resources without the commitment of full-time employment. Furthermore, avoiding the pitfalls of pressuring employees in uncomfortable conditions is paramount; instead, focus on providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and encouragement to thrive.

With a cohesive team and a shared vision, all obstacles can be overcome, and the journey of launching a startup becomes not a lot more manageable and rewarding.

Alex Axelrod is a serial tech entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of an international payment platform Uluky. He has over 12 years of experience in IT and FinTech as well as extensive expertise in engineering, cybersecurity, and software development. Alex applied his knowledge launching his own startups which he successfully led to exits. As the founder and CEO of Uluky, Alex is responsible for defining business development strategies and managing relationships with clients and key partners in different regions of the globe.

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