Should You Rebuild Your Old Team for a New Venture?

by Robert Moskowitz on June 12, 2013
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So you recently sold your successful business and want to start anew. For your next venture, you have the urge to “put the old band back together.” But this strategy, albeit an attractive one, can bring with it a variety of difficulties.

Before you try to rebuild your old team for the new project, think about whether your established crew of employees, managers, contractors, and vendors is right for the new job. Here are a few key points to consider.

Can the Old Band Play New Music?

Your colleagues did an excellent job supporting your previous business. But you’re starting fresh now, and you need to tailor your decisions to your new endeavor’s requirements and opportunities.

You probably feel a great sense of loyalty for, confidence in, and comfort with the people you already know. But bear in mind that the startup challenges you’re about to face may:

  • require different skills and expertise;
  • call for new ideas and new procedures;
  • involve a different industry or business environment; and
  • reflect a new business model.

Before you reach out to former employees and partners, take the time to identify the specific skill sets and expertise your business will need to succeed going forward. Work from that list to identify the people who can truly propel you toward success.

Is Everyone Still Hungry?

With a prior “win” under their belts, there’s a chance some of the professionals who were hungry the last go-round have grown a bit complacent. Others may have become overconfident and expect to replicate their past good fortune without putting in the same extraordinary effort as before.

Beyond determining the skills you’ll need from others, remember to evaluate your previous team members to see whether they’ve still got the will and desire to push ahead, all the way to the finish line.

Can Former Players Still Make the Cut?

Even if your new venture is a replica of the old one — and it’s probably not — there’s a good chance the surrounding business environment, competition, and prospective customer has changed significantly. Are members of your old crew as fully in tune with these realities, or even more so, than other candidates eager to fill those positions?

Before you commit to any former team members, check for signs that they’re fixated on the past, closed to the future, or less perceptive about the current business environment than other professionals. A key advantage of looking elsewhere is that it guarantees you’ll be offered new approaches, ideas, perspectives, and strategies.

Whatever route your choose, note that mixing old and new talent — or at least forging new relationships among the established players — can help to stimulate everyone’s creative juices. You also may want to hire an outside consultant to augment the contributions of your crew. And you can seek fresh input from your new venture’s prospects, customers, and other stakeholders, too.

Robert Moskowitz is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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