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6 essential roles you need in your startup dream team

2 November 2017 / By Desley Grant

You want your startup to be a roaring success, and we want to put you in the best place to ensure that happens.

Particularly in the early days of your business when you’re getting established, it’s important to make sure you surround yourself with the right people and expertise, to give you and your business the greatest chance of succeeding.

In this post, we look at the essential roles that you need to have covered in your startup, to create the dream team around you that will work with you to achieve your business’s goals, objectives and vision.

We’ve been inspired to write this blog by a recent post from respected business and entrepreneurship authority, Inc.com.

This post is laden with valuable tips for startup leaders, but also contains a troubling statistic – that within the first 3 years, 92% of startups fail, which is often the result of not having the right team roles fulfilled.

Read on to get valuable advice on how to give yourself the best chance of being the 8%, rather than the 92%.


Success on a startup budget

Startups often operate on limited cashflow (we go into this in more detail in tip 3 of our eBook ‘10 tips for busy business owners’) so while we agree with Inc.com’s message, we also differ slightly in our recommendation about how to fill the roles that will be vital to your startup success.

The Inc.com’s article is written primarily for the American market, where angel investing is much more common for startups. Therefore, their article recommends that each of the 6 roles they describe should be filled by separate people. That’s all very well when you have buckets of investment capital to pay the 6 people’s wages.

Writing for New Zealand startups though, where it’s more common to be starting out on a shoestring budget, it’s our opinion that “having the right team” doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you have to employ individual team members to cover each role.

Instead, we believe that each role that we cover in this post can be filled by one or two trusted advisors or coaches, who have the right personality, experience and character to fulfil several (or all) of the roles we describe.

To see some examples of multi-skilled and highly experienced startup advisors who can fill the 6 roles described in this post, when you’ve finished reading, come back and check out our RightWay business partners.

For now though, let’s look at the essential roles that you need in your startup to make sure it’s here to stay.


The Dreamer

This role is about inspiration, drive and excitement. Believing in the idea and the dream even when others may not. The true believer and optimist.


The Visionary

This is a role for someone who can pinpoint problems and clearly identify and communicate their solutions. It’s inevitable that your business will face some roadblocks, but to stay on track and keep moving forward you’ll need someone that has a flair for talking, leading and progressing the vision.


The Doer

It’s all very good to plan but things also need to be ‘done’. That’s the main focus of this role, to make things happen. This role will have the skills and experience to ensure things get started and finished.


The Innovator

This role, when done well, can transform your average startup into a world class operation. Whoever fills this role will have awesome intuition and skills to match. This is a role for someone with originality, who can think of things outside of the norm, with great taste and an eye for development and innovation.


The Taskmaster

This role works alongside the Doer. The taskmaster needs to be an expert organiser and delegator, always ready to assign tasks quickly and well. They need to create and exemplify the culture of hard work, for the success and advancement that your startup desires to become a reality.


The Connector

This role replaces the traditional role of ‘businessman’. In the startup world this role has the job of building and nurturing vital contacts and connections for your company and works on your customer, investor and advisor relationships.


So, where to from here?

The key takeaway of this post is that although there are 6 essential roles that need to be carried out in a successful startup, at RightWay, we believe these roles can be filled by a trusted business advisor.

Unless you are lucky enough to be supported by substantial angel funding, there’s simply no need to employ a whole team in your startup to fill each of the 6 roles we describe above.  

Give your startup the best chance of success by saving on employee costs and gaining on expertise.

It may take some time, but the value to be gained by searching out and joining forces with an experienced, talented and multi-skilled business advisor or coach is impossible to put a dollar figure on.

Lastly, if you'd like to read more about the art of being a sstart-up, please check out another post we've written, called "Busted! 10 myths about startup success".

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