How do I Build a Successful Business Team for New Startup Web Design/Mobile App?

I’m a new entrepreneur and I’m looking to start my first business. I’m working on starting my own web design/mobile app company that is focused on targeting the music industry (musicians, bands, record label, music gear suppliers, as well as music fans). Even though many web design businesses compose of only person, I’m not sure if that is the route I should take. So if I need to build a team for my small business to become successful, who should I compose of it of? Some ideas I were think of were: CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, CTO, senior web developer, junior web developer, graphic designer, copywriter, sales/marketing team a.k.a. “street team”, mobile app developers. I’m fairly new to this industry and I have the basic understandings of web design like knowing HTML,CSS, JavaScript, a little bit of PHP, however I think I may need a team if I really want to see some success in the long run. As the founder of the company, I have the vision of where I want to take the company and what it represents. Even though I stated the previous positions of what may possibly make up my business team, what do you guys recommend to how many people and what types of positions should I have in my upcoming startup small business? Thank you so much for your input.

P.S. It would really help if you provide answers in depth as well.

When you talk about “building a team”, do you envisage hiring employees on a salaried basis?

If so, have you done a proper budget and cash-flow forecast? I ask that question because it will inevitably take many weeks or months before you start getting a worthwhile flow of paying work, and several more weeks before the clients pay for that work. Will you have enough funds in hand to pay your team’s salaries and employee benefits - not to mention recruitment costs - during that time?

If that’s an issue, it would be better if you started out by getting work that you can do on your own, even if that means turning down large jobs or ones that are beyond your competence. That way, you will at least build up a customer base that could eventually generate enough finance to enable you to start hiring employees. It will also help you get valuable experience, both technical and business.

If that doesn’t appeal, another option would be to get the work, and then sub-contract it to specialists in the relevant fields. But I suspect that you will end up paying most of your income to the sub-contractors, and spending most of your time in dealing with them.

If you do decide to hire salaried staff, focus on people with technical competence. You don’t need to worry about employing a COO or CFO until you have grown substantially. Better to employ people with solid HMTL, JavaScript, etc. skills, at least at first. But you’ll also need to acquire those skills yourself, if only to enable you to supervise and quality-control the work of those below you.

I hope this helps. Whatever you decide, good luck with your plans.


My question to you is, what skills can you leverage to build this business? You mentioned that you have some html/php skills, which qualifies you to be a coder, but running a business takes so much more than that. Also, the music industry is one of the hardest industries to break into (I know from experience!) so that is a really a plan that will require a good strategy. What is your starting point???

I agree with this - don’t hire anyone who isn’t billable at the beginning.

I run a web development company that mainly designs and builds Ruby on Rails and mobile applications. We’ve been doing this since 2006, and have grown from a team of 2 to 15, so I have some experience in this department. We don’t focus on one sector of the market, and our growth has been much more organic than what you seem to have in mind, but here are my thoughts:

Don’t hire more people than you need right now. The moment you have a new person on staff, you need to generate the work for that person to do. I call it feeding the beast. The more people you have on staff, the more money you need to make, so make sure you don’t hire too many people too fast.

Let your clients’ needs drive your hiring decisions. Perhaps your skills are enough on their own to provide services to your clients, but down the road it will become clear to you that you need someone with design capabilities or heavier back-end programming abilities.

Get to know some contractors you can trust. If a client needs design services, but you don’t have the capabilities to provide them, a contractor can step in and help you, without adding to your payroll. Working with contractors can be difficult, and I really prefer having employees who are dedicated solely to your product. Contractors can have multiple clients at a time and not be up-front about their time constraints, or they can leave you hanging on an important deadline. Employees can bring these problems, too, but contractors are more difficult to control, in general. That said, finding people you can trust can really help you expand your services and grow your business smartly.

Really, just learn to do that and you can make any model work :slight_smile:

That’s all excellent advice, Erinbean.

It’s a pity that the original questioner never came back to acknowledge any of the advice he’s been given.


As you are an entrepreneur you should hire a person with good management skills and great knowledge of the plan or app you are talking about. Like you can give him detailed information on what idea you have in your mind and then select people to make a group to work on this by giving them proper training and updating them time to time. This will work for you the right way.