Chapter 8: Assemble Your Support Team
Your support team is going to be vital to your success. There are many businesses today with their owner as the sole employee, and the only way to be successful is to build a support team.
In truth, you could be building your support team from day one, and you should start in earnest now.
I’m going to suggest that your support team will exist on multiple levels:
Employees – now this is not going to apply to everyone but if you do have employees, they will become part of your support team, especially those at the highest level.
Independent contractors and suppliers – you may depend on local services to carry out needed or vital functions for your business, or they might live across the country or on the other side of the world. Either way, you must have some confidence that they will do what they say they will, and do so on time. This includes businesses which supply raw material, components, or wholesale complete products that you resell.
Professional service providers and advisors – these are paid professionals, such as accountants and attorneys, that you depend upon not only to provide services, but to advise you in terms of “what if” scenarios, to give you options when problems arise, and to be proactive about letting you know about pitfalls further down the road. It may also include technical consultants, marketing advisors, or others depending on your specific business.
Peer groups – if you can join a networking group, offline or online, you will have a resource to turn to when necessary. If you don’t know of one, start one! Online, there are thousands of groups devoted to every topic imaginable, and if you can’t find one, it’s easy to start one on Yahoo groups or Google groups.
Mentors – finding someone who has gone before you can be a fantastic resource. They are often available to ask questions and to help you solve problems. Often you must pay several hundred dollars per month for the privilege, so you may not want to engage a mentor right away but you should consider doing so in the future.
Collectively, all of the above: employees, independent contractors and suppliers, professional service providers and advisors, peer groups, and mentors, are your support team.
John Donne said, no man is an island, and it just as true today as it was in the 17th century. You need people around you who can be strong where you are weak, who have specialties you don’t possess, and who have seen what you have not seen.