Founders, Your People Are Vital to Business Success

I’ve connected with numerous founders who have a big vision but don’t value how vital other people are to its success. They understand they’ll need help, but how they see other people is always telling. They may view others as necessary to execute specific tasks but replaceable. They treat them as an expense line item, with the compensation, equity, and responsibility they offer reflecting that mindset.

The classic example I see is a nontechnical founder building a software company. He wants to use offshore development or hire a junior developer whom he’ll manage. He thinks he needs someone to just build a product and tries to get it done as cheaply as possible. What this founder doesn’t grasp is that the software is the company. The software is a living thing that will evolve and become more complex over time. The people building it are not just an expense. They’re critical to building and maintaining a product customers will pay to use, and they should be treated as such. And there needs to be someone at the leadership level—other than the nontechnical founder—who’s responsible for this critical part of the business and incentivized by cash and equity.

When I was a founder, I learned (the hard way) that you can go further, faster with a solid team that shares in the upside.

If you’re trying to do something great, think about how you can get the best people possible around the table to help you, not how you can spend the least amount possible. That shift in mindset could be the difference maker.