Two are Better Than One.
One of the most powerful images that I came across was that of a thick rope fraying and coming undone. There’s nothing spectacular about a thick rope coming undone. Age will do it, use will do it. But, it is a powerful image nevertheless.
When the rope is intact, it is powerful enough to move a ship, hold a heavy container, or hold something in place. But when it frays, it barely is enough to hold itself.
It is the same for many new businesses. Alone, the owner is often asked to take on many tasks, such as being a marketer, salesman, stockman, artisan, and so on and so forth. Soon, all these demands start shuting down his or her ability to hold the ship together. The business owner is being pulled from all sides and is barely able to hold himself together.
At that point the business owner has a choice, continue on the same path and breakdown altogether or change direction.
Breakdown is easy to figure out: This is the situation where a business owner starts missing deadlines, being unresponsive to customers requests and simply ignoring the basics of business. The “could-care-less” attitude. It is easy to fall into this and it really isn’t something that the business owner planned for but he should have. From this point to closing the business takes very little but may take a long time.
Changing direction is the way to go. When the business owner is looking at what he is planning on doing, part of the planning should be on the management team and part of the planning should be on the operational team.
The management team is that group of people that will help the new business owner reach the next level. This could be a group of advisers or an actual group of professionals hired for specific roles, such as accountants, or lawyers. Insurance broker would also fall on this category. It could be anyone and everyone who is helping with the managing portion of the business.
The management team does not have to be paid up-front and may stay as counselors until the business grows to the point where these advisors can be paid for their time and expertise. But, treat whoever you approach professionally. Don’t just use them and then abuse them by ignoring their services.
The operational team is a little more specific in the sense that they are the ones who will help you create the product, distribute it, and depending on your business, simply generate revenue. These could be artisans, craftsmen, and so on. These will not be able to work on the promise of future payment. As a rule, these individuals work on a per job or per period (hour, day, whatever) basis and depend on their ability to earn their rate to survive. As a business owner it is important that you understand this or you will be fighting a losing battle.
So, how do you acquire your partners?
As far as the management team, you could start by approaching an accountant, your banker, an insurance broker, and an attorney, and discussing with them what your needs will be. Work on this until you find a “kindred soul” some professional that not only understands the small business concept but understands the risks of a small business.
For many of these individuals, what will count is how much they think they are going to be able to make from you. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, you may be better served by someone else, someone who understands what it is like to start a new business and struggle to reach the next level. Keep searching until you find those professionals. Make sure you check your local chamber of commerce or community hall for referrals to these individuals.
As far as the operational team, the artisans, craftsmen, etc, you will need to really work hard at weeding out the ones who are in it for the money and have little professional integrity. These are the ones who quote you for a job without knowing zip about your situation. These are the ones that will be rude, obnoxious, and lack any professional integrity. There are, unfortunately, far too many out there, so you will have to work hard to find the jewels. But, once you do, take good care of them. They will help you succeed.
There’s everything to be gained by taking on partners in these ways and you and your business will benefit as a result. So, don’t run your business alone, make sure you invite others to help you succeed. But, treat those that do help you, as well as you can. They are worth every penny.
Wishing you the best in your ventures