No matter how enthusiastic and dedicated you are to your entrepreneurial dream, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to do it all alone. A small business doesn’t become a big business with only a single person at the helm. “It takes a village” to build a successful business—a team of experts to scale your efforts. Having a great team in place will make running your business less stressful, but building your team initially has a few challenges to be aware of.
For instance, how do you find individuals you can trust to bring on board? What about finding the time to train? What should you do if you can’t afford to outsource? These are a few of the questions that often prevent new entrepreneurs from turning a good business idea into a thriving and growing enterprise. Here are four ways to make team building easier:
1. Identify Your Work Style and Preferences
Not everyone works the same way. (SHOCKER, I know!) Some people prefer interacting using direct, real-time communication. Think “in person” or on the phone or video chat; while others prefer less intimate approaches, such as emails, texting, or messaging through social media apps.
Keep in mind that learning and working styles are different for everyone. Some people pick up on new tasks quickly, while others take days or weeks to get things solidly down. Some people want to be given precise step-by-step directions, while others prefer to strike out on their own and get things done in their own way. No one way is necessarily right or wrong, but if you’re a spontaneous “go with the flow” kind of person and you hire someone who needs every detail planned out well in advance, there’s going to be conflict. Look for team members who fit in with your preferred work style. You’ll be much happier with the end result.
2. Commit to the Long Term
It takes time and patience to hire your ideal team. Not only do you have to spend time looking for the right people, interviewing several candidates, and onboarding your final choices, but you also have to train each new team member. Remember that no matter how skilled they might be, they’ve never worked in your business, so expect a learning curve. Provide a safe environment for your team members to ask questions, and then take the time to answer thoroughly. Expect mistakes to be made (even by you!) and allow enough time in your schedule to fix them or find the best solutions to problems that may arise. The time and effort invested in the beginning is well worth it when you have a team you can rely on.
Know When it’s Time to Cut Ties
Accept the fact that not everyone you hire will be a good fit for your business. There may be creative differences, disparities in workstyles, or personality clashes that don’t appear until the “honeymoon period” is over. Ultimately, you need to do what’s right for your business growth, team morale, and your own frustration levels, and that means making tough decisions from time to time. Letting someone go is a business decision. It’s not pleasant, but it’s sometimes necessary. Even the seemingly best-qualified applicant may turn out to be a wrong fit for your business needs, and that’s okay. Learn from the experience and reevaluate what you are looking for in your next hire.
Starting Small is A-Okay
The allure of an idyllic work-life of a couple hours a day, weekends off, and the freedom to step away from the business for an entire summer while it runs itself may be one of many things that drew you to being an entrepreneur. And you just may achieve that dream! At some point. Down the road. But it’s unrealistic to think it will start out that way. It’s going to take time, commitment, planning, and a lot of grit to build the business of your dreams. Think in terms of months or years rather than days or weeks.
Start by hiring just one person to take on the tasks you dislike most or don’t do well (for me that was housekeeping and accounting). As you expand your team and your business revenue increases due to the freedom you’ll have to work on your business rather than only in your business, you’ll be able to delegate even more responsibilities. This will free up your time even more to enjoy the perks for which you became an entrepreneur to begin with.