National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation

Building a start-up's management team: As with everything else in life and work, networking is key

by Meredith Erlewine

April 2000

As the chief technical officer of a billion-dollar corporation in Chicago, Johann George pulled down a healthy six-figure salary and enjoyed the usual corporate perks: access to the company jet, a substantial support staff and a multi-million dollar budget at his disposal. After six years, he decided to chuck it all to move to Evanston, Ill., and start a company in a business incubator on the campus of Northwestern University. Why?

George craved something he could only achieve through running his own company. "I love building teams and watching teams work well. That's probably what draws me the most," he says. "There's a magic that happens when you bring a bunch of people from different environments to work cohesively as a team to produce something they never could have done by themselves. It produces amazing results."

George's decision to hop on the entrepreneurial roller coaster was by no means uninformed. Before his foray into the corporate world, he already had started two successful, fast-growth companies. With his new company (and another that he's started since), George needed to convince exceptional executives to leave big paychecks behind to work for reduced or no salary at a start-up. He learned that plenty of capable prospects felt just as he did – that the entrepreneurial culture is more appealing than corporate culture.

With the least to gamble in finances and the most to gamble in the future of the company, hiring key management team members can be a daunting process for the founders of a start-up. NBIA asked incubator managers, entrepreneurs and other experts how start-ups handle the recruiting process and what the incubator's role is in that process. Here's what they had to say.

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Keywords: human resources -- client, management team building/compensation, networking, service provider network

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