Just yesterday and day before a friend came up to me and said he was confused. He was building iPhone apps and was earning very well. But he was not sure if he wanted to start a company as such. He is young and can easily continue to be a one-man army and build applications and sell them. But he is not sure if he will feel good about building a team, managing it and so on. One thing he feels though is that he wishes to stay a product developer and not handle marketing or even team building.
This is a common situation many come across at least once in their lives. You do something you like doing, get some results, then what? Do you grow that, build a team, build a business? Or do you continue the direction you are on and be independent. Yes independence is an important term here. To start a team means responsibility. You may (and probably will) get partners along the way. These will be like your friends, the "gang" who combine their strengths to manage the company. These will be the group with transparent communication among themselves. And you will also build the team, the employees in traditional terms. You will also need help from your existing contacts, your family and so many other people. But it takes time.
Partners: Think of them as the closest people you know related to the business. You work together to keep the day bright and sunny, to make sure you have your work coming in, that the finances are right. But its more than just that, its about having a vision, a common vision together. You are the core of the family that you will create. If any of the non-partner team members have a doubt or a problem they should be able to approach any of you. Partners can be 2 or 3 or even as many as you need. But think about what are the core values of each of you. You want to have a team where each one brings in some quality which is required at the core of your business. This is although not how you always start out. Sometimes you just start out as a group of friends building a company. And that is fine. But then you will need to start thinking about who does what.
Team Members: At the heart of any successful company is the group of people who build it brick by brick each day. It takes time and effort. It takes a team. You need to build your product, choose the color that suits the best, select a tagline for it, contact the first possible client, market it, support your clients, and do hundreds of other things. Also you need someone to take care of your team. Someone has to make sure people are not working too much. But all this must have a reason. In my opinion the only thing that will make people come back each day and work on your business is the vision. It is the promise of a better tomorrow. Not all team members will get noticed, a tiny fraction will possibly get to come to the level of a partner. But they will all fight, with you, each day to make it a brighter tomorrow. But you are responsible for their well being, you will have to make sure they get what you promised them. This is what makes you different from other founders out there. Always remember it is the team that makes those big companies we read about.
So eventually it is one's decision to either fly alone, or build a team. Both have different modes of operation. They are very different in what you get as result. And one thing I have learned from my experiences is that building a team is toughest job you can take up. It takes a lot of time understanding the intricate details of humans. And its a slow process, taking each day and learning more, but progressing work at the same time.