Team Building & HR

Can entrepreneurs be made?

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, editor of Founders Space

This is an age-old question.  Nearly every VC out there has an opinion, and unfortunately, most of them are misguided.   The majority of VCs believe you are born with it.  But in reality, most people learn to become entrepreneurs.

Building the Right Tech Team

Nicole Valentine

Nicole Valentine

by Nicole Valentine, VP of Prod/Technology at Figment.com

You have the idea. You have the vision. Now, you need the team to help you realize your goals. We all know that hiring the right people is necessary in any organization, but it’s even more crucial in a small technology startup.  The hiring decisions you make will have long reaching effect on your business. This core team will not only shape the future success of your organization, but the culture of your company as well.

Employee Retention: How to keep the keepers and maintain optimal turnover levels

Burton Goldfield

Burton Goldfield

by Burton M. Goldfield, CEO of TriNet

Introduction:

For many of the world’s most admired companies, the ability to attract and retain talented employees was the single-most reliable predictor of excellence, according to Fortune magazine. And it may be the single-most important challenge of this decade. Why care about retention? Retention is a business issue and losing one or two key people can have a significant impact on your longevity or profitability.  In the following white paper, we outline how managers can determine whom to keep, how to treat those who leave and what to do to retain those necessary to the organization.

Winning Mental Pyramid

Raj Gavurla

Raj Gavurla

by Raj Gavurla of LiiiVEN, Inc.

Practical Leading Edge Research and Process Entrepreneurs

Use To Win, Grow, Evolve

Fig. 1 Winning Mental Pyramid

inner-motivation.com

Here’s how it works:

Relationship Between Motivation and Inspiration

Motivation has a relationship with inspiration and your motivation controls your attitude.

This is the top line in your business or what is your motivation?

Advancements In Humanness, Medicine & Technology

Raj Gavurla

Raj Gavurla

by Raj Gavurla of LiiiVEN, Inc.

To raise the standard of work and living it’s clear to me there must be continual advancements in humanness, medicine, and technology. What is your action plan to win, make more money, and grow to make lives better?

Finding Sharpshooters & Building an Amazing Team

Eran Eyal

by Eran Eyal of Springleap.com and Evly.com

One of the key learnings I have had as a founder is finding incredible talent and setting them up for success rather than failure.

There are 2 types of mentalities regarding giving colleagues opportunity:

1. Give people opportunity and let them sink or swim

2. Give people opportunity they are suited to when they can handle it

The former is a recipe for failure.

Where can I find good website designers/developers?

QUESTION:

Where can I find good website designers/developers?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

This is a question we get all the time.  Find a great designer and/or developer for Web 2.0 sites isn’t easy.  There are lots of good people out there, but they tend to be either too expensive or already employed.    And if you want someone to work for equity or on the cheap, it can be difficult.

How do I find good tech partners for my online project?

QUESTION:

I am looking to start a company to develop a technology to be used online — but I’m not a tech whiz. My education and experience are on the business side. Hence, I don’t have the first idea what type of talent I’m looking to partner with.

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Who can I trust with my ideas?

QUESTION:

Who can or should you trust?  I have an idea that excites me: one that seems to have meat on the bone and I’ll need a great team to act on.  But I’m having a hard time finding the balance of whom I can trust to tell this idea to. Some people are evangelists and rally incredible support for their visions. Others hold their cards close to their chests. I want to tell everyone, but don’t want someone to take it and run.

What’s the best way to find the right partner for my new startup?

QUESTION:

I’ve yet to develop or launch a new Web 2.0 startup. How best can I search for a partner interested in such a venture?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Before you dive into finding a partner, you need to ask yourself what you need from this partner. Is it money? A specific expertise? Business connections?

How much equity should I give to employees & consultants?

QUESTION:

Hi everyone – great site!  I’d love some insight regarding compensating different employees with equity.  I have had a web-based product in beta for just over a year. We are completely bootstrap (i.e. no outside funding). We are an LLC, though plan to become an Inc. at the end of the year.

I have 3 different scenarios for potential equity:

What should I be budgeting for healthcare benefits for my employees?

QUESTION:

What should I be budgeting for healthcare benefits for my employees since we will be hiring soon/recently received funding?

ANSWER:

Brian Hassan

Brian Hassan

by Brian Hassan, Managing Director, BayPoint Benefits

If you define full benefits like most Bay Area technology companies (and startups) as:

(1) Medical
(2) Dental
(3) Vision
(4) Group Life ($50,000)
(5) Short Term Disability
(6) Long Term Disability

Then here is my answer:

Do I have to form a partnership, LLC or corp to bring onboard a technical partner?

QUESTION:

My background is in small business management, as well as sales and marketing. However, I have a few business models I’d like to pursue taking advantage of. My challenge is that they each require the skills of a programmer (which I don’t have) to build either a very detailed website or an iPhone app, both of which would also require someone to update and maintain them. My question is can I form working relationships with individuals with these skills in order to start my business, perhaps with a working contract and not by forming a partnership, LLC or a Sub S Corp?

Will a project internship limit my pool of students to choose from?

QUESTION:

I have been reading blogs from YouTern.com about the advantages for students to have an internship at a startup company (working directly with the owners). And, I have also read that using interns for my startup can be advantageous to my company (fresh ideas and eagerness).

With limited time I would like to offer an intern(s) “project” internship(s) but have learned that most Career Centers at Universities will not allow college credits or support the Project internship.

How much equity should I give a VP?

QUESTION:

We’re looking at bringing on a VP of sales, and I was thinking about providing a 0.75 – 1% equity stake with a 3 year vesting period. Is this about right?  We’re pre-funding right now.

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

What if a laid-off employee refuses to return his laptop to the company?

QUESTION:

What should I do if a laid-off employee won’t return his laptop to the company? It has confidential information on it, and it’s a company laptop.

ANSWER:

Ethan Stone

Ethan Stone

by Ethan Stone, Stone Business Law

First, a quick but important clarification: I’m not your lawyer and this answer doesn’t establish a lawyer-client relationship. I’m giving a generic answer to a generic question to educate the users of this site. The information below is general in nature and should not be understood as a substitute for personal legal advice.

Is it ever worth suing a startup that has no money left and is clearly about to go under?

QUESTION:

I’m an amateur angel. I put money into a tech startup, and the CEO spent the money on “personal” travel and other questionable things. I don’t think what he did was ethical or good for the business. But is it ever worth suing a startup that has no money left and is clearly about to go under?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Can I fire an employee simply because he is incredibly annoying?

QUESTION:

This is a silly question, but I have to ask. The employee performs his job, but he’s driving me crazy. Can I fire this employee simply because he’s incredibly annoying? Quality of life must count for something. What if two people don’t get along. I’m the CEO. Shouldn’t I be able to decide who works for me?

ANSWER:

Charles Swan

Charles Swan

by Charles Swan at www.thevirtualcfo.net

The short answer in California is YES, since California is an “at will state.”

What is a good title for an early hire at a startup who is really the CEO/Co-founder’s right hand person?

Nicholas de Wolff

Nicholas de Wolff

by Nicholas de Wolff, founder of deW Process

Before naming your remaining executive management, you might want to think about how the organization plans to grow:

Might there exist the need to bring on external members of the leadership team, down the road a little (this means you should leave some suitable titles sitting on the back burner, in anticipation)?

What should I do if my employee is padding his expense account?

QUESTION:

What should I do if my employee is padding his expense account?

ANSWER:

Charles Swan

Charles Swan

by Charles Swan at www.thevirtualcfo.net

This has to be nipped in the bud.  You haven’t mentioned how critical this employee is to the success of the company, so that I will assume that since you are a startup, it is a sensitive position.