I have read many articles about the importance of having a team of people with whom you can consult regarding your business. Despite the wealth of information about the benefits of having such a team, I have personally known businesses to falter even though they have trusted advisors. While it can be advantageous to consult with others, it comes with a very important caveat:
The merits are directly proportional to the quality of the surrounding people to whom you are listening.
Quality, not just quantity
Building a team around you by surrounding yourself with people who have direct business experience, who have ‘been there and done that’, along with experts in various fields, and you will reap the rewards. Conversely, if you choose to listen to inexperienced people who don’t have practical exposure to the business world, your decision making will be adversely affected.
So how do you build a credible team of people, with whom you can work well and benefit from a good sounding board? First, you need to identify individuals in the industry whom you admire and would like on your team. Then you need to approach them:
1. Just ask. There is no harm asking, at the most you will get a “no”.
2. Be prepared to offer something in return. Recognised industry leaders are often offered a stake in the company or directorship in exchange for being available for consultations. However, sometimes it can be as simple as buying that person a lunch for their thoughts. If you are unsure what the person is looking for, just ask.
3. Hire them. Most people in the market know that they can help other companies and make a living out of it. If you believe that your identified person can work with you on your business, then simply hire them. The cost of having an advisor far outweighs the costs of not having one.
The individuals that you find while building a team around you will highlight the potential pitfalls of your business path even before you get there, giving you the chance to adjust and go around the pit, rather than falling head first into it.
Listening to your advisors
An A-rated team when you have been building a team around you is useless to you unless you actually listen to their input. This does not mean that they are right all the time, but with a variety of advice and the different viewpoints to consider, you will have greatly expanded your perspective, enabling you to make a better and more informed decision for your business.
Do you have a team? Are they working well with you? If you do not have advisors, what is stopping you from surrounding yourself with them? Are you building a team around you?