There are seemingly countless elements that go into creating a successful business, and countless opinions on each one. You can spend weeks scouring the Internet for ideas, philosophies, and strategies for developing a business model, increasing productivity, effectively marketing your company, building business relationships and so on.
However, there is one key area of a successful business that seems to be lacking in books and blog posts, and that is building a successful team. While you are sure to find opinions out there, it does not seem to be as big of a focus area as most other elements of small business.
Although you may be able to get things started on your own, the long term success of your business will depend largely on the strength of your team. Below are a few steps necessary for you to get the right people for each position, inspire them towards common goals and provide everything they need to win.
1. Define your culture
This first step can often be the most difficult for entrepreneurs because we don’t really know where to begin. We know our business model, our product and our goals, but if we have never built a team before, we do not know yet know our culture.
This means analyzing the vision you have for your company, defining your values and finding people that fit that model. Decide what is most important to you and what kind of people you would need to achieve that. It is easy to find people with the right qualifications, but finding those with the right values can take a little more time and effort.
2. Define your vision for success
Anyone can hire people for a job, but building a successful team means bringing people together towards common goals. Find people who share your vision for success and develop ways for you to all work together towards achieving it.
Everyone needs to be on the same page for the team to truly work, so you need to make sure you have people who you can trust to take your business in the direction you all want it to go. For example, at Six Sigma focused companies, success is clearly defined statistically. With companies that emphasize lean principles, reduced waste is the key to success.
3. Define team member’s roles
One of the key roadblocks for small businesses is overlapping roles and uncertainty about who is in charge of what. Unfortunately, an entrepreneur with limited resources will likely have to hire people who can take on multiple different roles within the company.
This creates a balancing act that is hard to maintain, and you may have to make changes on the fly. You need to make sure everyone understands his or her duties and what is expected of each. Make sure each person understands upon hiring that duties may be flexible, but always make it absolutely clear when any change is made.
4. Invest yourself in your team
Each member of your team needs to know that you are behind him or her 100 percent. Provide as much support as reasonably needed and give each team member the tools – and inspiration – to grow.
Show them that you care about them and their success as an individual. Celebrate little victories and provide recognition when someone goes above and beyond. Building a successful team means caring about your people and being there for them in victory and defeat.
5. Identify problems quickly
In any team, there will be disagreements and disputes, but diversity and differing opinions are necessary for any good company. However, there is a difference between a healthy debate and a problem.
You need to do all that you can to keep your team together, but you also need to understand when enough is enough. A few signs that it may be time to move on from a team member include:
- The person is regularly absent or tardy.
- Multiple mistakes or bad behaviors have not been corrected.
- Morale is negatively impacted by the person.
- The person is apathetic towards his own performance.
- Drama seems to circle the person constantly.
- Performance is continuously poor after multiple attempts at improvement.
While these are not the only reasons you may need to move on from a team member, they are certainly indicators of which to be aware.
Believe in Your People
In the end, you need to have people you can believe in. If you can find people who fit your culture and share a similar vision, you are off to a good start. If you can bring them together, invest in them and identify problems early, your team will be on the right track for a successful company.