Startup founders should be looking for on-brand employees with passion, excitement and a desire to follow the leader. Leave drones with no dreams to the corporate world.
Attempting a startup is one of the most difficult challenges someone may face in their life. If anyone comes to me and says they are about to start a new business, I take my hat off to them, wish them luck and let them know I am happy to help in anyway I can. For me, the first 12 to 18 months (which I call the grind phase), were some of the most painful months of my life.
Upon reflection a few years later I can also say that the journey has been incredibly rewarding and those hard times (and extremely long hours) laid the foundation for where the KX Group is today.
I would have to agree that the majority of Founders are selfish, but I think this comes out of a necessity whereby you need to have that ‘do or die’ entrepreneurial attitude in order to chase big dreams and bring ideas to life. I am inspired when I speak to other like-minded entrepreneurs about how they will do almost anything to succeed, which is why they usually do.
But make no mistake, it doesn’t take long until we soon realise that we can’t do everything on our own and the search begins for a strong team of passionate individuals who are needed to help us reach our BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).
Speaking on this topic recently was Sarah Riegelhuth, Co-Founder of multiple startups including the award-winning Wealth Enhancers, getrichslow.com.au and most recently, We Love Numbers.
“The trick is to be upfront from the start with your employees and set out clear expectations. Your company culture, values and goals should be identified from the beginning. I also recommend making the time find out more about your potential employee, their personal goals and how they see themselves fitting into the company. Once you get past this, the next step is the most important – align your employee’s goals with the company goals. Magic happens and you should have an employee for life,” says Riegelhuth.
For myself with the KX Group, this alignment of employee and company goals started out in the form of business partnerships, and in the last two years has expanded to incorporate a franchise model. To date, this strategy has worked very well, not just for business scalability, but also as a way of providing employees an opportunity to invest and have ownership.
By becoming a franchisee, an employee has the chance to not just work for the brand/company, but to become part of the management team, immerse themselves in the company culture and share in the success of the business growth. At writing, I am proud to say we currently have 4 trainers and 2 head office staff who have invested in their own KX studio, with more to follow this year.
I can safely say, the last thing I want in my company (and I’m betting most other entrepreneurs will agree with me) are people who watch the clock and treat their role as ‘just a job’, with no ambition to see themselves or the company, prosper.
Startups are moving feasts. They require employees who are driven and motivated and who want to be part of a company which is constantly evolving and embracing opportunities. Startups are the perfect place for goal-driven individuals who love what they do, value their careers and enjoy the work that goes into make great things happen. Those who lack drive and ambition will be steam rolled by the rest of the team and will quickly find their way back to the corporate world.
Aaron Smith is the Founder/CEO of the award winning KX Group, a boutique, high-performance fitness company with locations in NSW and Victoria.