Many startup founders can't wait to have a giant team. The big offices with a huge amount of followers, it's the classic portrait of the successful CEO. While having a large company can be a sign of success, hiring too fast can be detrimental. Communication starts becoming more of a problem, and a lot more organizing is required. These are just two small examples of the consequences of having a big team.
Starting out, when our competitors have more funding and talent we become discouraged. We think that these companies can move much faster and can be more creative. This leads to us making excuses for why we can't compete, and many times we run.
In truth, there are many advantages small companies have over big ones. When you recognize this, you start to become much different about the hiring process. You learn to do more with less and optimize the use of members in your startup. Here are 3 major advantages small teams have over large companies. Early on it's important you use these as much as possible.
1. You can run super lean
People are expensive. Even if they agree to take big pay cuts, you'll find that more bodies means much more money spent. Besides salaries, a big reason why has to do with company culture. It's important that teams spend time together outside of the workplace. And when you plan company culture events for a big team, bills start to rack up. The problem is you've dug yourself in a hole. You must invest in teammate to get the best work from them. If you don't have the funds to take care of a team member, that person should not be on your team.
With a small team, you can move fast and save money. You also don't have to risk not taking care of your employees. When you only have a handful of teammates, looking after them is quite easy. It's also much easier to check in with each one of them and make sure everything is ok. If a member of your organization is unhappy, it's a lot easier to find out why.
2. You can build a stronger hustle mentality
Nothing feels better than taking down Goliath. To beat up on the big bad competitor when your a tiny startup is something that pumps everyone up. As the leader, you should try to find a big enemy that your team can take head on. When you start to make some progress beating up on them, everyone will work that much harder. This is what I call the hustle mentality.
Another reason small teams can achieve a hustle mentality easier is because everyone on the team has so much to do. In a big company, you can slip through the cracks some days or stick to just a 9-5. When you only have a couple of people, no way you can get away with that. Your teammates are busting their butts, and they need you to do the same to keep the company alive.
3. You can develop closer relationships
When the tribe is smaller, the relationships become deeper. As the company grows, it becomes much harder for your teammates to know everyone in the organization. One of the things CEOs take for granted is the time when everyone knows each other on a personal and professional level.
Of all my time as a founder, the best moments I think about are the times hanging out with my early teammates building our company. We've gone through all the ups and downs together, and that's built a bond that's hard to replicate outside of startups. The relationships built when the company is a couple of people are the bonds that you'll cherish for the rest of your company's life.