3 Tips for Building a High Performance Development Team in Early Stage Startups

A great software development team is critical for the success of a tech startup. There is simply no substitute to quality talent.

You have just started up. You have a skeleton crew; perhaps, minimal to zero sales; a great product or a service idea. In a world that is replete with alternatives and substitutes, your core product or service should differentiate you from the competition and help you emerge as a startup that actually offers what is direly needed by your audience. That is only possible when you have a workhorse of a development team that is able to transform your vision into reality. 

Well, that’s easier said than done!

All good talent is already hired. As an early stage startup, you don’t have the funds to poach them from your competitors by offering higher salaries. You cannot dangle before them the carrot of job stability. Does that mean you settle for B players? They will thoroughly drill your startup into the ground. So, what do you do?
Here are some tips that have delivered excellent results, time and again, for successful startups.

Give Your Team Equity

Your development team deserves to get paid, even if it is not much. They too have bills to pay, you know. But, how do you offer them salaries that match or exceed their previous employer’s salaries?
The answer is that you cannot. You simply do not have the resources at the moment. 
There are only two real alternatives to money – the promise of more money or a part ownership of the inevitable success. You can offer them both of these by sharing your startup’s equity with them. 
When your employees own the equity of your startup, they feel a powerful sense of ownership in the startup, and that drives them to deliver their best. A lot many great developers are happy to forgo money in the short term for the promise of a share in the future success.

Remote Talent

Remote talent continues to be a popular choice for early stage startups for 2 reasons – low investment and associated costs, and access to the very best talent.
If you hire remote talent, then they don’t have to come to the office. This saves plenty of money for them on travel to and fro from work. Secondly, it also eliminates the need for your startup to rent out a workspace. But, most important of all, you can hire the very best of talent from anywhere in the world.
Just visit any freelancer platform and you will find them teeming with extraordinary talent from across the world. Some are set in their freelancing ways, but many would be happy to join your organization. In addition, hiring great quality talent from the developing world can massively reduce the financial pressure on your startup, as they would be ready to work for a fraction of the salaries as demanded by the local talent. That’s why outsourcing is so popular.
Thankfully, there are an endless number of team collaboration apps and platforms that are built to minimize the friction between remote team members and maximize their productivity.

Be Your Startup’s Evangelist

Here is the open secret about startups. Your employees do not work for your startup. They work for you. It is you who will sell them your vision for your startup, win over their trust, and inspire them to work towards achieving that vision. Naturally, you have to be your startup’s biggest evangelist. You have to sell your employees the same vision that you have. Only then will you be able to attract great talent and motivate them to work relentlessly towards the success of your startup. 

Bonus Tip: Hire Well-Rounded Developers

Startups usually do not need hardcore specialists in a particular coding language. Instead, what you need is well-rounded talent, a full stack developer who knows how startups work. If possible, hire someone who has previously worked in a startup and is excited by working in such an environment again. They bring with them a ton of skills and knowledge that would be indispensable for you.