Intelligent business owners recognize that their most important asset is their team. Your team is the face of your company to the customer and the ambassadors of your brand.

Here are four important things to consider when hiring your staff:

  1. Hire, train and fire based on your values. Once you establish the values of your organization, it’s important that those hired actually live and demonstrate those values. If they can’t, won’t or don’t—move ‘em on out.  They could be an amazing fit for another business and won’t undermine the type of culture you want.
  2. Check their references. It continues to baffle me why people do not check references. And those that do often accept anecdotal feedback. Ask tough questions and ask for specific examples.
  3. Create a career path inside your organization. This can be difficult in some businesses, but it is extremely important. Opportunity is a strong motivator and will attract star performers.
  4. Develop a hiring pipeline. Actively network for great future members of your team. Build relationships with those people even if you do not have an open position. Nurturing relationships now means that when a position does open, you can fill it quickly with a superstar.

Your company is only as good as the team that carries out its vision, interfaces with your customers and represents your brand. Deliberately, proactively and intelligently build that team, and your company will go further, faster.

David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership.