Being your own boss certainly has the ingrained perk of being able to do what you want, when you want, as you see best suited to benefit your company. This certainly is an attractive quality that would appeal to any professional, but undeniably, being an entrepreneur can be a double-edged sword. Just because you want to work for yourself, it does not mean you have to do it alone.
Having a support team as an entrepreneur can be completely invaluable. Working on your own as the head of a company frequently imprisons that entrepreneurial spirit into that deadly trap of doing what you’ve always done because it’s worked so far. Growth is about taking progressive steps, and sometimes a team of support is just the answer. The best group should be there to:
- Be a conductive environment to brainstorm with like-minded individuals who can offer their own opinions based upon their own experiences
- Keep you focused and accountable on your goals
- Motivate you when things get tough
- Support you and rekindle that fire to keep building your business rather than sitting back too comfortably
Building a solid team of support can be an incredibly valuable platform from which you can develop and implement ideas you may not have come up with without the support of your team. Follow these 10 C’s of structuring a positive support team.
1. Commitment – Build a team willing and able to meet frequently and on a regular schedule. This won’t work if each and every member isn’t equally committed to the team.
2. Communication – A team of like-minded, hardworking and intelligent members is completely useless unless there is an open line of communication. This process is about sharing ideas and criticism with one another to improve mutually.
3. Confidentiality – Trust is the baseline for the success of the group. Gather a team you know has the interests of the team as a group in mind rather than solely their own. Worrying about the need to keep ideas secret or worrying about political strategy is just a headache and completely counterproductive to the support team environment.
4. Contributions – Support teams have to be about give and take. If a member or two seem to be showing up with nothing to offer the others and only seeking help on their own projects, you may want to consider a different type of relationship – more along the lines of a mentor/mentee scenario – and decide if you’re willing to take this on.
5. Chemistry – Unlike a completely business-based relationship, this should be a group you’re happy to bounce ideas with. Members who are difficult to communicate with or someone that just doesn’t seem to innately work with the group should probably be weaned out for the benefit of all.
6. Currency – This goes back to the concept of give and take. Taking advantage of one or a few members’ resources becomes a festering breeding ground for a lopsided team, and you’ll likely find resentment building and a negative environment emerging.
7. Coachability – Know-it-alls or, even worse, those unable to take criticism are exactly the types you don’t need in your support team. If you’re not able to offer your help without the worry of offending, you’ll find you won’t have much to offer, and that other individual will likely just become a headache to deal with.
8. Connectedness – Similar to an open line of communication, build a rapport between members where a few emails, calls or texts a day are well received rather than becoming a burden to the receiver. A strong support group must feel a mutual connection between all parties.
9. Captivation – No one likes to keep up that strong professional face all the time. Your support group should be professional in nature but still allow for that personal element as well. Time spent with your team should be enjoyable. Happy hour drinks every meet-up may not be appropriate, but lighthearted conversations about a past vacation build friendly relationships so that members of your team will want to work alongside each other on both a personal and professional level.
10. Comfort – The aims and goals of the group should be specific at the beginning. More than likely the support team should be assembled to help members build their businesses rather than serve as a support group to “fix.” Members should already have a comfortable standing with where they are professionally and look to grow alongside their team, rather than leaning on the experienced members to help fix their issues.
A support team can be just as helpful as it can be detrimental to your business and you personally. Building or joining just the right team is extremely important and not to be taken lightly. Whether you already have a few people in mind you may want to approach to solidify a team or are actively looking for an existing one, be sure to make that decision carefully.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
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