Last Updated: May 25, 2013
Every successful business owner has a team of people behind him or her that helps make that success possible. Here are three ways you can build a successful team for your own business.
If you want to learn how to build a team that builds success, you will want to take a look at the big picture. Take any successful entrepreneur, and behind him or her, you will find a well-suited team of supportive, knowledgeable, and energetic members all dedicated to increasing the success of the business.
Tip #1 for building a team that builds success. If you’re trying to understand how to build a team that builds success, you should first pinpoint the mission of the business. Only when you have a clear understanding, as a leader, of the mission of the business, can you build the right team. When you can clearly identify and emotionally connect with the mission, you are able to identify the right people who are best-suited to support the success of the business.
Depending on the mission statement of the business, you may need to focus on building a team of creatives, analytics, intellectuals, or spiritualists. For example, a PR (public relations) firm wouldn’t necessarily build a team of spiritualists; that personality would be better suited for a business that is motivational or inspirationally based. A PR firm would more likely hire creatives and intellectuals.
Another example of personality matching would be an accounting firm; they would look to building a team of analytical members, not necessarily creatives or spirituals.
Always start with the mission of the business, and then build your team.
Let’s say you need an assistant to travel with you to help you with live events such as seminars and guest appearances. An important personality factor would be to ensure the team member has the following qualities:
Action Step #1
Revisit your professional mission statement. If it doesn’t “sit right” with you or isn’t specific enough, rewrite it. Your mission statement should always begin with benefit(s) to your clients (and who those clients are), followed by a reason(s). It should always invoke some meaning for you, as in a passion or personal mission.
For example, “ABC International is dedicated to providing expert overseas investment advice to small business owners (less than 20 employees) in the U.S. and Canada so they can increase their wealth, leverage their financial worth and grow their business.”
Present your professional mission statement to new hires and explain what it means to you personally, as well as professionally. When they can grasp why it’s important, they can incorporate that into their actions.
Tip #2 for building a team that builds success. Think about the areas of your business where you struggle and could obviously use the help. Make a list of those tasks you would like or need help with and then look for those strengths in potential candidates.
Additionally, take into consideration the kind of personality you tend to gravitate towards. Do you enjoy being with people who are: Funny? Serious? Energetic? Go-Getter? Talker or silent-type? Make a list of the kind of personality you tend to enjoy the most and then look for those additional traits in candidates.
Unfortunately, interviews are not the ideal situations to explore personality traits, since potential candidate are generally nervous, but you could ask them to complete a personality profile as part of the application process. There are several sources for free or low-cost personality screens, but the Myers-Briggs Personality (MBP) Test is best suited for career related insight.
Are you worried about how a potential candidate will fit in with an existing team? While this is a viable consideration, it should not make or break your decision. You, better than anyone, knows what your business needs to succeed. The bottom line is that your team needs to learn how to work as team – and you should support them in achieving that goal. If by chance you have a team with conflict, do not let it go unnoticed. Address it immediately by listening to the concerns of the team and then offering constructive solutions.
Action Step #2
Learning to become clear on the strengths and weaknesses of the business can make a huge difference in its success. Taking a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. List the strengths on the left and weaknesses on the right. For instance, say your client base isn’t growing as fast as you’d like because you are not effective at closing sales. Potential clients like you, and the service offers, but don’t pull out their wallet.
In this case, hiring a team member that is adept at closing the sale would be highly desired. They would need to have an out-going, personable personality, backed up with a solid sales record. You would not want to hire someone who is shy, introverted or less than confident.
On the other hand, if you need someone to handle the administrative backend, you will want to hire a team member who is detail-oriented, prefers to stay behind the scenes, and exhibits a reliable consistency.
Tip #3 for building a team that builds success. When building a team that builds success, you should have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each individual member – including your own!
You may have to do some experimenting to find the right match, but if you pay attention, you will build a team that supports you – and each other.
For example, say a team member is great behind the scenes, but chokes in public settings. They may be better suited in the office, responsible for administrative tasks such as bookkeeping, emails and answering phones. At the same time, if you have a team member that gets bored easily, appoint them to be your assistant. Take them with you on the road, give them a variety of duties that change from day to day, and put them on the spot with last minute errands. That will keep them on their toes, and their boredom at bay.
You’ll find that your business runs far more efficiently when you have properly assigned your team members to tasks that suit their personality and feed their interests. Boredom and complacency is one of the fastest ways to kill the success of your business.
Action Step #3
Understanding your own personal strengths and weaknesses can give you a clear picture of what is missing from your business, and why it isn’t growing. A business must contain all the pieces necessary for it to grow and prosper. If you’re missing just one piece, it will not be operating at its potential.
Just as you did with your business’s strengths and weaknesses, you will do for yourself and your team members. You can ask your team members to participate, by creating their own lists, but examine them with an objective eye because most people can’t see or will not be honest about their strengths or weaknesses.
When things don’t go as planned or operate at their most effective level, note where the breakdown happened and look for patterns. If you can attribute a breakdown to a specific team member, then you can pinpoint a weakness. Of course, the same goes for strengths.
As a business owner, it is important to be observant of the strengths and weaknesses of your team. This is why it’s vital to keep a running strength and weakness list for you and your team. Revisit the list at least once per quarter and update it as needed. Consistently refine processes and procedures that employ the strengths of you and your team, while minimizing the weaknesses. The more consistent you are in this endeavor the more efficient and effective your business will grow.
© Anne Bachrach. All rights reserved.