Preparation is essential before starting your first day of work for any startup. Once you have made sure you have the finances for the business to run, you need to organise several other things. For a start, you need to ensure you have the right team around you when you begin.

After advertising for the available positions in our company, we received seven applications for two positions. As we couldn’t interview all applicants, we had to review the candidates’ CVs and covering letters to find reasons to give them an interview.

We were looking for students from the university who were developers, wanting a ten week summer job. When picking a candidate I wanted to see evidence of successful team work, as I wanted to put together a team that could work well together, appoint a team leader and share out the workload. Another thing I wanted to see is evidence of programming in relevant languages, for my company it was C/C++, Java and PHP.

From our criteria and further discussion with my business partner, we cut down our applications to four candidates. We interview all four, so we could get experience at the interviewing process. We found that the two candidates with the most impressive CVs had the best interviews, and so they were an easy pick for the roles. After hiring the two candidates, we received a further application for the developer role from a bright student who was willing to work for free. This was an interesting opportunity which worked out well for the company, as he was a great part of the team. However, not every person offering to work for you for free should be taken on as staff in your company. You should review their CV and give them a short interview to ensure they’re right for the role.

If there are conflicts in the team or if someone is not fit for their role, this could result in a bad situation which will lead you to spend a lot of your time fixing the issues that arise. If the team gets along and everyone is right for their roles then progress will be smooth and easy.

That’s not to say you should have a team who all agree about everything, but a team who will get on well, as they have to spend their working days together. Not agreeing all the time will mean that discussions will occur and the team will be motivated to work together.

But before you get your team together you must have your visions for your company ready, with targets and goals set out to reach them, established in your business plan. You will need to take this information from your business plan and have it in a comprehensive format to present to your employees on the first day of work. There are many ways to present this information, like using company documents or by creating presentations.

In preparation for the first day of work in our new company, we created a welcome presentation for everyone using a great presentation tool Prezi and company documents, shared in Google Docs and Dropbox.

I was not fully prepared for that first day starting my first company. The vision and goals for the company were not well defined. In the early stages of any startup things do change but they change around central ideas and goals. As we were still a little unclear as to what these central ideas and goals were, we just had to present what we had and then later properly define our goals. Although this was not an ideal situation for the company, we successfully pulled through that period to concisely define our aims, and that was due to great team work between all of us.

This experience taught me that a clear vision and goals before you start that first day is absolutely key, so you can deliver a mission to your team clearly and with confidence from the very start.

By defining your company’s visions, goals, and missions you can create a structure for how to run the company day-to-day. This is done by taking those visions and goals, which are big things that will take a long time to achieve, and breaking them down into manageable tasks that can be achieved within a day, week or month.

In the final part of the series, I will discuss some of the challenges ahead, and what can you do to prepare for them in the early stages of your startup company.

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