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Diversity Might Be the Most Important Ingredient For Your Startup’s Success

Here is how to build a more diverse, innovative team.

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Photo by mohamed_hassan on Pixabay

Whether it is a tech startup or social, most entrepreneurs are looking for one thing – innovation. How innovative your product or service is, decides how successful your startup will be. It is the holy grail that makes sure you are the next big thing. 

This innovation stems from ideas, and the people around you eventually determine what sort of ideas you get. When different cultures, genders, nationalities, ethnicities come together, it leads to different points of view, out-of-the-box ideas, and better decisions. According to a 2019 analysis by McKinsey, diverse companies are more likely to outperform less diverse ones. The Wall Street Journal also stated (in its first corporate ranking that examined diversity and inclusion among S&P 500 companies) that a diverse and inclusive culture provides companies a competitive edge. 

But if you think the diversity talk is only for large corporations with multiple executives, you are wrong. A diverse team is just as important for early-stage founders. It is common for entrepreneurs to build a team from their own social circle during the initial stages.  

Even governments realize the value that diverse teams bring to the economy. Silicon Valley and immigrants have long been a potent mix – more than half of startups between 1995 and 2005 were founded by foreign-born people. Other countries too offer “startup visas” to bring in creative and entrepreneurial-minded people. Specscart, one of the fastest-growing eyewear startups in the UK, was founded at the University of Manchester by an Indian and Taiwanese immigrant. Today their team includes people from different nationalities and ethnicities working towards a common dream – to revolutionize the eyewear industry. 

Here are 3 different ways diversity can lead to startup success. 

  1. It is Great for Customers 

Your audience also includes a diverse group of people from different countries, with different ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and race, among other factors. Having a diverse team will help to connect with them better. They will know the consumers’ pain points, needs, desires, etc. Marketing these days is about human-to-human conversations, not one-way messages from a business to a customer. Moreover, modern-day consumers care as much about social issues as they do for the product or service. 

  1. It will Attract More Talent 

Having a diverse team from the initial stages itself helps to attract more talent as the startup grows. Just like consumers, prospective employees look at the social factors of a company as well. This is an important criterion for millennials when applying for jobs. And if you have to choose the very best, focus on being inclusive from the very beginning. You have to show that you walk the walk when it comes to office culture. 

  1. Diversity Breeds Innovation 

As mentioned above, different people coming together from different walks of life creates a great environment for ideas. It is important not just for marketing, but for product development as well. With different viewpoints and perspectives, you will be able to have more creative brainstorming sessions that will lead to that innovative idea, which separates from existing businesses. Without it, your positioning strategy will not be effective. Having a non-diverse, homogenous group on the other hand might lead to an “echo chamber” – where people come across the same perspectives and opinions repeatedly.

How to Hire Diverse Teams 

When you are expanding your team, the top most criteria should be of course talent and relevant experience. You don’t have to hire a diverse team just for the sake of it while compromising on skills. Here are a few tips on how to find, hire and grow a diverse team. 

  • Even though we live in a much more global world now, a lot of us don’t move out of our comfort zone. That is why you should intentionally look for ways to hire diverse talent from the beginning itself. Build a diverse network of connections, not just for hiring opportunities. Reach out to people on LinkedIn, go to varied conferences and events, etc. 
  • Diversity and inclusivity should be a part of your brand culture so that as the team grows, all managers are thinking about it. This is important to actually keep the team diverse, and not just hire and forget. This culture should be a part of your DNA. 
  • Similar to the above point, make sure that everyone in your office feels empowered and encouraged to voice their view. When all members are able to express their ideas, wants and opinions, it goes a long way in creating a truly diverse team.
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Written by John Reiley

John Reiley is an NYC-based senior business analyst. He has been helping small business owners plan their strategies for success since 2005. He is a big gadget freak who loves to share his views on latest technologies and applications.

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