Creating a professional business team is not easy to do on any level! Having started many businesses myself and having been involved with many different teams, both startups and corporate, I have seen a lot of different teams and noticed some similarities among them. If you really want to put together a crack team of business people to grow or launch your new business idea, hopefully this article will be of some help. But honestly, if you haven’t even started your business yet, what are you waiting for? Just do it! This article won’t help you come back later!
Little background about myself: I’ve started several businesses which are profiting, (including this website) from web content to manufacturing and app development, I’ve done a lot of things that to this day, are still operating and succeeding!
I’ve also partnered with some co-founders on other projects, OneUpPhone, in particular is a successful on-demand phone repair service! And of course, I’ve partnered with many different teams on app startups which most of them have, ultimately, failed!
I’ve learned a lot from these project, mainly and most importantly, that there is no equality in a team, no, not all team members are equal and not all of their opinions really even mater! I’ll get more on that in this article, it’s a sad, but very true lesson I’ve learned in the 6+ years I’ve been doing this!
Get The Job Done Yourself!
Whatever you’re doing, whatever you plan on starting, whether it’s a Gaming YouTube channel or a storefront retail shop, you honestly do NOT need a team to do this! Just do it yourself! You’re sitting around waiting for the right team or the right time to start your team, one thing you should realize is that if you can run the show yourself you will be in a much better position! And as you begin running your business, by yourself, you will begin to network and other quality business people will be attracted to you.
These people can help you, these people can assist you and allow you to focus your time on other things, but if you, right from the start, aren’t able to run the show on your own, then you’re in a bad position! Now of course, most people starting a business have a very limited budget, but if you do have a good amount to invest, you can start off directly with a team, however most of us are starting with very little, not enough to support a paid employee or member.
Your Friends Want to Help, But Friends are Friends
Naturally, your friends will begin to notice you are succeeding all by yourself and they will offer up their skills or abilities in the hopes of helping. If they really are your friends, they will naturally want to help you succeed and be apart of whatever you’re doing. Be careful though, someone who might be a great buddy to hang out with might turn out to be a mess to work with. Another big issue with working with friends is that they will assume a sense of “equality” in the work place. Equality is not a bad thing, but when we’re talking about a structured business with a chain of command, common goal, and things just need to get done, equality can be a bad thing!
Example: Tech startups are really bad at this, and for some reason coders think they know everything about every subject!
When I worked with a code school a while back, one of the big issues we had was that everybody involved were close friends, from the teachers to the accounting people, all thought and believed that their input was very, very important and that their voice needed to be respected because they were friends! As a result, meetings were very cluttered, and barley anything was accomplished. Plans, which had been originally developed by the marketing people had been gutted and ripped apart by the teaching!
A coder may be a great coder, but planning a marketing event should be left to the people who know marketing best! The big issue here was that the teachers felt that the event was “scammy”, and it’s understandable, no one want’s to be the “sales man!” There is a little bit of pushing and advertising involved and sometimes that makes people feel uncomfortable! But this is what has to be done in order to push sales, and the code teachers ultimately stepped in and said, “No advertising.” I can say, as a result, the event failed miserably in turning over sales and soon after, the team disbanded.
Lesson: If you’re starting a company with friends or familiar people, you need to be able to assert one person who is in charge at all times. Just because you’re friends does not mean you are equal. One person, not two people, but one person leads the team and makes the final decisions!
Surprise Team Members
Sometimes you meet strangers at networking events, people you originally thought nothing of, but maybe you discover something about this person that could be very beneficial to your business. Do not disregard people at first glance. Naturally business people have big, over sided egos, and you will find that many of these networking events are filled with people who could care less about your business. Ironic but true, many of these people are primarily interested in bragging about their business and swapping business cards so they can take it back to their office and increase their list of “connections” on linkedin.
Keep in touch with these people, even if they aren’t interesting at first. I’ve met a lot of people, who to be honest, I thought I would never see again. But after reaching out, after meeting them a few more times, some of these people ended up having really valuable contributions to my businesses. And you never know who this person might know, they may know someone who is perfect for your business. I said that business people have big egos, but that doesn’t mean they are all jerks! If they see an opportunity to connect you with one of their contacts because they think it will be good for you, they will do so, because they like helping others sometimes in return for future favors, and also because it strokes their ego! Don’t judge people at first glance!
Make Educated Judgement About People, QUICKLY!
Contrary to the previous point, sometimes it is in your benefit to make judgments about people quickly! I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to work with people who I always thought were light weights, but it took me several more times meeting them to realize they were losers. That time wasted was time I could have been developing some other project. If you really feel deep down in your gut that there’s something off about this person or maybe you just don’t like them, make quick judgement and move on! There’s a lot of people out there and your time is worth a lot more than theirs! Don’t waste your time trying to work with someone who, maybe after the first or second attempt, isn’t budging. You have bigger fish to fry!
Experience: I’ve had experiences where we’ve interviewed people who seem really interested in the job, and very motivated. They turned out to be not so great performers down the line. I’ve also interviewed people who I personally thought were not going to be great but others on the team thought they were good. We tried them out and they too were terrible.
Lesson: You need to make judgments quickly so you don’t waste precious time, but the title also includes “educated.” The person who was a really great interviewee turned out to have some issues even on the first day. We let it slide, they partially improved, but eventually they turned out to be terrible! They actually were caught, later, stealing from the company! This was actually the first person I had ever hired in my entire life!
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If I could go back in time, I maybe would have still made the mistake of falling for their fantastic interview, but since that incident, I’ve been conducting multiple interviews, and testing people harder than ever before! If they don’t pass, they’re done! If I notice something bad about performance early on, it will create a huge red flag for me to further investigate and take action quickly, if necessary! It’s your business, don’t allow others to hurt it and don’t always assume the best in everyone, some people are out to hurt you!
Competitors Can Be Compatible
I’ve witnessed it many times myself! Two people who think they are competing end up joining forces. Now there’s not much I can really say on this one because personally, I’ve never had this happen to me. When I compete, I compete viciously! And I don’t say that in a bragging way, but I play to win not to get even! And want what’s best for my company, I have no regard for their company. This is a vicious world, and I’ve learned when first starting my business, that being naive and thinking that people “play nice” is a big mistake!
Experience: Your competition needs to pay the rent, continue operating, and have the loyalty of their customers. When a new kid comes rushing in guns blazing and marketing firing every which way, it really makes them unsettled. That’s exactly what we did entering a new market, our marketing was everywhere, could not be ignored! My competitors have posted nasty reviews, said terrible things about me, threatened to sue me, etc… Every trick in the book, and I believe they had every intention of shutting us down and gutting our business. They had zero regard for us, and likewise, we had no regard for them. It’s a tough world out there. Wait wasn’t this about competition becoming your friends?
Example: So I knew “this guy” who was competing with “another guy” and then one day they met up, had a few drinks, turned out to really get along after that, and eventually partnered up. It was such a beautiful thing to see! But I don’t know how it happened, really, it didn’t happen to me so I have no personal experience about this other than I’ve seen it happen and it’s possible it could happen to you!
BEST METHOD: HIRE THE RIGHT PERSON!
This is by far the best method I have on this list, it’s the most reliable and has consistently worked for me the most! When you need the “right” person to build a professional business team, you just need to hire them! Find them, see their work, and see if they are good enough to join your team, then hire them! None of this no pay, work for equity, BS! Just pay them what they’re worth and get the job done!
Experience: In my experience of hiring many artists and creative professionals I have found success in hiring the right people for the job. It’s important to note that these people post their work online for the world to see, and that included potential employers/clients. After researching many good candidates, I spammed many emails out to these people and got maybe a 10% response rate. Of that 10%, I only ended up working with about 1% – 3% of those people.
But after rigorously testing, questioning them and examining their work, I am proud to say that I am happy to be working with these people and 99% of them have been great additions to the team! This has been a very reliable method of getting professionals to join my team and I would hire these people over friends, competitors, or randumbs, any time!
Lesson: Find other professionals. Simple, straightforward, common sense solution. No need for fancy techniques, questionings or secret events, just seek the professionals, you’ll know it when you talk to them! Follow your gut feelings and make quick, educated decisions!