By Scott Latham

Attracting, building and fostering the right team is crucial to success for both a startup and its staff.       

It hit you: a brilliant idea! It’s finally time to prove to the world that you’re too creative for a 9-5. Strap-on your startup helmet and start shooting.“Teamwork makes the dream work, but vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team” John C. Maxwell. For any startup, the alignment of a big dream and a good team is critical. In my opinion, the best way to command alignment is with MVV, not to be confused with MVP (Minimum Viable Product). MVV is your company’s Mission, Vision and Values.

I attribute a great deal of Colabination’s success in hiring and retaining the most creative, passionate and inspiring people I’ve ever met, to our well defined MVV. Building the team wasn’t easy. Recruiting and interviewing candidates can be painful, however with the right formula, any startup can thrive and grow successfully.

Opportunities are endless with the right team but the game is unpredictable in the startup arena and can change at any time. What is predictable is experiencing turbulence in finding those opportunities, so here are three tips on how to use MVV to cultivate a team and reach your company’s dream.


At Colabination, our mission is simple: empower fashion designers to be discovered. Your mission is what you eat, sleep and do every single day—that which pushes you to get you where you’re going. When you begin hiring, it is critical that you define exactly which part each individual will play in the day-to-day process. Flexibility in a startup is key and someone who can wear many hats is an important asset. However, you need to be decisive in who you bring on. You have to have confidence that he or she will get the immediate job at hand done. Be as explicit as possible in terms of what a position entails in the job listings you post. Including details like 80+ hours per-week, high risk for high return, challenging work that will test your resolve etc., gives candidates a good idea of what to expect when they come on board. If you know your mission well, identifying the right talent will be no problem.


The vision is the most fundamental aspect of a startup, so know it well. Ask any savvy investor and he or she will tell you that you don’t invest in the current merit of someone’s position on the team, but rather, you bet big on the person’s potential in the future. Skilled workers think the same way. There is enormous risk associated with joining a startup, hence the decision must not be based on where you are but where you will go, and how you will go together as a team. Know that it must be your job to sell and promote the company vision clearly. This will guide candidates decisions as they envision themselves being a part of that future. Most importantly, a clear vision will serve as the guiding principal for everyone when it comes time to make tough company decisions.


Values act as a general code of conduct, which a company is founded on and from which the company operates on a daily basis. Early on, core values are the building blocks for success and a strong company culture. When starting a new company, ask yourself, “What’s the status quo?” What will it be for work quality, creativity, attitude and of course, serving customers? Values establish how your team handles a problem, how to create new ideas, how you treat one another and how to move forward together as a strong team to achieve success.

Recognize and develop your MVV early on, and you’ll have no problem identifying and retaining the right talent for your business.

Scott Latham is Founder and CEO of Colabination. 

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