Start with your team

Another essential area that determines the success of any business is the team. I believe the power behind any great company, including an e-commerce company, is its team. You don’t loose this fact just because your shopfront is online. The team might look different to a traditional team – but you still need a great team!

Hire for culture, not necessarily competence

Building the right team is essential and that involves finding the right people that are aligned with your company culture and have the necessary skills. Competence is the first thing that people usually look at when hiring new team members. And all the documents required in a traditional hiring process, such as cv and covering letter, are geared around proving how competent you are at a job. Don’t get me wrong, people do have to be competent but that’s not the only aspect to look at, it’s important to get the culture right as well. Sometimes the right person is not always the most competent person. Be sure to focus on the culture aspects of your business throughout the application and interviewing stages to help you find the right people for the role.

Remember, when you first start out a lot of the roles and responsibilities will fall on you, so you have to wear the right hat at the right time. But you need to determine which roles need to be hired based on what kind of business you are trying to build.

Where is the area of greatest weakness?

Don’t hire on jobs you don’t like to do. Hire on jobs that should be done by someone else better than you. Also, be creative with job titles and avoid the word ‘manager’ whenever possible!

In any e-commerce business every member of staff is/or should behave as if they are customer-facing in some way. Therefore there is a need to maintain internal trust relationships with sales staff in order to enhance the trust relationship with the customer. E-commerce businesses cannot afford for internal trust levels to fall too dramatically, as poor trust relationships may start to affect the customer experience. The customer-facing employees need to be able to positively represent the decisions of senior managers to customers, not disown them or even sympathise with customer complaints.

In my next blog post I’ll discuss some ideas around conflict in teams and how to navigate in difficult times.