The people that surround us in our everyday lives can have a substantial impact on how we navigate through our day to day. People can lift us up or pull us down, encourage us or tell us why that would never work. If we surround ourselves with individuals who believe in and support us, we have a much higher likelihood of getting through challenging times successfully.

The same concept is particularly true if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur. More often than not, entrepreneurs and small business owners handle business dealings alone because they feel they do not have the money, time or luxury of having a team (teams are reserved for big companies). Whether you feel that you have to handle everything yourself, or you do not feel that you have the resources, building a team around you to support you in business is crucial to your success.

Benefits of having a Team

A team can consist of; experts from different disciplines, consultants, other business owners, staff members, friends, advisors etc. Regardless of the size of your team, surrounding yourself with a group of individuals that understands and supports your vision can create a series of compelling benefits.

A good team will:

  1. Provide you with other viewpoints from which to assess decisions you are considering
  2. Generate ideas that you may not have considered
  3. Expand your network to include people within their networks as well
  4. Provide an opportunity for discussions that can bring clarity to a problem (more robust solutions come from combining the minds of many)
  5. Give you access to other skill sets and expertise
  6. Provide an avenue for tasks to be delegated to others, freeing up some of your time to focus on the business

Building your team

Who do you need on your team? The best answer to that can be found by asking ‘where are you lacking?’ Make a list of the areas that you are really strong in, then make a list of areas that you are weak in.  As you begin to build your team, look for people who hold the skills and expertise that you lack. Your team should complement your skills and round out all the core areas of business (finance, operations, and marketing) to ensure that you have all the bases covered.

Once you have identified some people who hold the areas of expertise that would be helpful on your team, it is important to also consider whether they are aligned with what you are trying to accomplish. It is key to select people who understand and support your vision. People who will provide sound reasoning and advice while being your cheerleader at the same time. Your team should be comprised of individuals that help move you closer to your business goals and unless they understand what you are working towards, they will not be able to do that sufficiently.

Ways to build your team

Members of your team can come from a variety of sources.  Now that you are looking to build a supportive group, review your current network with a fresh set of eyes. Many of the people you need are right in front of you.  Some common ways to add to your team include:

Find a Mentor

Search for someone who has achieved success in business in general or who is an expert in your specific field. Research the individual and look for a mutual contact that could introduce you or just approach them without an introduction. The truth is that most successful people are eager to share their knowledge since they likely had a mentor themselves and appreciate the value and honor of being asked.

Form a Peer Advisory Group

Select 4 or 5 other small business owners with a similar desire to move their business forward and build their team. Your group should commit to meeting monthly with the goal of becoming a confidential arena to discuss ideas and challenges within each of your businesses. Your Peer Advisory Group can offer you unbiased business advice and tremendous support.

Assess your current Business Advisors

Most small business owners have a handful of advisors they engage out of necessity (i.e. account, lawyer, business consultant). These advisors have specific skills that are crucial to your business but are outside of your realm of expertise. You should choose these individuals very carefully, making sure that not only are they really good at what they do, but that they also understand and support your vision.

Your team can consist of several different people in many different forms. Regardless of how you structure your team it is important that you take the time to develop a strong one and that everyone on it understands and supports your vision.