With the economic downturn and resulting rise in unemployment in the last several years, many enterprising individuals have turned to small business entrepreneurship as a means to re-enter the workforce or re-define a career.
Many of these businesses rely heavily on the skills or abilities of a single person, and can become overwhelming for an individual to manage on his or her own. In frustration, these small business owners may ask, “isn’t there a better way?” The answer is yes, there is. By learning how to build a team, small business owners gain the expertise and experience of other individuals in business without making costly investments.
The first question to ask is, what is a team? For those people in corporate America, the first thought may be a group or department that is managed together, working on a specific project or goal. In the case of small business, team-building does necessarily mean hiring a group of employees to manage different aspects of the business, a step which is out of reach for many small business owners. Team-building is about meeting and building relationships with knowledgeable professionals who are experts in their fields.
A successful team does not need to function as a coherent unit, each person involved simply needs to do their part. A team may consist of a small business owner and his accountant, publicity consultant and lawyer. This allows the business owner to retain control of the business and grants resources: experts who can consult on and handle their aspect of the business while the owner provides his product or service. While this small business owner can try to do everything himself, it is likely that his accounting or publicity will suffer due to the lack of expertise and the stress of maintaining so many different aspects of the business.
To take team-building a step further, networking events and groups can be a valuable way to meet potential new team members. Even if a business owner does not employ the services of another professional, she is likely to meet other like-minded professionals with whom relationships can be built.
Managing a small business can be difficult, and having other professionals who understand the business world to talk to can help determine an appropriate course of action. Think of it as having an unofficial Board of Directors: you need not share all of your company secrets, but you have gained valuable advice and experience by having this person available to brainstorm with.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has released a video titled Strategies for Growth: Team Building, in which successful entrepreneurs and experts share real stories and topic-specific advice. To quote the Small Business Administration, “one of the most powerful elements in creating success is a powerful team.”
Running a small business can be an exhausting task for a sole owner. By building a team of knowledgeable professionals, small business owners ensure that each team member is appropriately applying his or her expertise to a specific area, leaving the owner available to more fully commit to his own area of expertise.