Entrepreneurship is a Team Sport: Meet Your MVP’s

Guest article from Best4Businesses.com

Are you trying to run a successful business by yourself? Finding it lonely, difficult and frustrating? Stop. You don’t need to. As entrepreneurial guru, Tim Ferris says, “Life is too short to be small.”

Right now there is a team around you ready to help you succeed. Even if you don’t have a large staff or many business partners you DO have a powerful support team, which you probably don’t know about and certainly aren’t using to your full advantage.

The best entrepreneurs know that business is a team sport. They surround themselves with talented team players, sure some they pay, but many they don’t.  

Here are 16 types of team members you can use to succeed. From accountants to universities,  plus how to get the most from each team player.

Some are inside your company, such as employees, but most are not. All can play a vital role in supporting you as an entrepreneur and your startup company.

Let’s meet them now.

Your Entrepreneurial  Team Members

  1. Bankers & Lenders – Finance executives have valuable experience with startups that they can share with you. Ask for their advice about money, accounting and lending. They are a treasure trove of proven financial wisdom.
  2. Accountants and Lawyers – These professionals often have decades of expertise, about negotiations, contracts, reporting, financial analysis and market research – all which can certainly help your startup.
  3. Industry Experts – Trade show speakers, authors of industry reports and bloggers in your field. Use their know-how by attending shows, reading blogs and industry publications regularly. Consider contacting them and asking their opinion on market trends, new product lines and your business plans. Being complimented by your attention they are usually glad to share their valuable advice.
  4. Business Mentors & Coaches – Every entrepreneur needs a mentor, or two. Mentors made all the difference to my success. Because they were independent of my company they clearly see my business needs. I used the free programs at  SCORE (the education division of the SBA) as my mentor team. Here are other low-cost and free entrepreneur assistance programs.
  5. Family – Your partner and children are your most intimate support. Get them on board early by engaging them in decisions and discussing your plans regularly. My husband and I have a weekly money meeting. We review financial reports, our goal progress and help motivate each other.
  6. Friends – Your buddies can help both boost your motivation, and reel you in when you go too far afield and may be heading for disaster. Be honest with them and ask for help. While they may not be business people, surely they have faced life challenges and can give support, companionship and good advice.
  7. Colleagues & Entrepreneurs – Other startup owners and your business colleagues can aid you with encouragement, direction and reality checks. As fellow entrepreneurs they understand your situation and will also appreciate your support of their ventures. Mutual support is a win-win.
  8. Suppliers – Your vendors have a vested interest in your success. They want to get their bills paid and get larger reorders as your company grows. They have an inside track to industry trends and techniques. Ask for their advice and don’t be surprised at the smart advice. My printer gave me some of my best business advice ever.
  9. Government Agencies – From land zoning to the sales tax, these government offices are filled with knowledgeable people ready to help your business. Ask them about upcoming law changes and deadlines for filing paperwork. Many towns have dedicated groups often called Economic Development. Our local town economic development group produces special events which boost local merchants sales.
  10. Landlord – One of your most important relationships and partners is your landlord. Your business location is vital to your continued firm survival. Keep in their good graces by paying your rent on time, keep your place clean and follow the building rules. Talk with them and ask about any changes in the neighborhood, utilities and special town events which could affect your business.
  11. Competitors – Why are my competitors part of my success team? Because they will help you succeed by inspiring you to do better work and become a better entrepreneur. I had one competitor who I so wanted to beat it fueled my best work for years. Happily we used to joke with each other about it at trade events, saying we both needed each other to succeed.
  12. Trade Associations Networking Groups – Most industries have trade associations which publish trend reports and stage networking events. Get active in your association by volunteering on committees. You will meet great people who will greatly increase your knowledge and connections.
  13. Employees and Manager – Your employees, especially managers, are your team both in their labor contributions but also in talent and intelligence. Utilize their smarts by meeting regularly and discussing your business situation. Sometimes the least likely person has the best suggestion. My delivery girl suggested a new product that went on to become one of our best sellers!
  14. University, Incubator and Accelerator Programs – In universities are groups focused on small business success such as the SBDC (Small Business Development Center), startup incubators and accelerator programs. Research offerings in your area to build your knowledge and connections.
  15. Business Partners – If you already have a partner you know they are a vital team member. But if you don’t have a partner, consider finding one. You don’t have to make them a full partner you could join up for a certain location or product line.
  16. Investors – Many entrepreneurs erroneously view investors solely as a source of funds when their most valuable contribution is their expert knowledge. Network with investors groups in your area, and industry, to meet and learn from these successful business leaders. Even if you don’t get financial investments you will benefit from the priceless knowledge and relationships.

Now that you know you do not need to do it yourself, build your own personal success team from the types of people we described. Take a moment to list their names and how each can help you achieve your goals.

Then get busy and contact them to enlist their support in your business endeavors. You will be surprised how generous and genuinely helpful these people can be to achieving your entrepreneurial dreams.

Go forth and succeed fellow entrepreneur.

About the Author:  Marsha Kelly

Marsha Kelly sold her first business for more than a million dollars. She has shared hard-won experiences as a successful serial entrepreneur on her Best4Businesses blog, where she also regularly posts business tips, ideas and suggestions, as well as product reviews, for business readers. As a serial entrepreneur who has done “time” in corporate America, Marsha has learned what products and services really work well in business today. You can learn from her experiences to build your business.

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