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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Build A Team of Experts

My husband and I are getting ready to file our taxes and as usual, the discussion comes up - do we need to make some changes for next year? As business owners, we are faced with the fact that we make all the decisions concerning our business. The choices are endless! Is it time to incorporate? If so, should I become an LLC or is an S Corporation better?

Should I let Dearl talk me into using the Blackberry he bought me for Christmas (which is still in the box) or stick with my trusty system of Day Planner and Post-It notes?

Where should I focus my marketing this year? With all of the dire warnings about the economy, will some methods work better than others?

We desperately need a new computer. I want another PC. Dearl wants a Mac. Who is right?

Is it time to hire an assistant? If so, should we use a virtual service or actually hire someone to come to our office?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. AAAGGGHHH!!! It's enough to make you crazy! Especially when the wrong choice can have drastic consequences for your business.

If you are lying awake at night struggling with the answers to these or other business questions, it's time to build yourself a team. My team consists of personal friends and professional acquaintences whose advice I trust. I simply need to pick up the phone or dash off a quick email or text message for all of the support and answers I need.

To build your team, simply make a list of all the questions you have. List all of the professional services you need or may need in the future. Then start thinking of all the people you know that can fill one or more of these needs or answer one or more of your questions. My team consists of my accountant (I hate numbers!), a lawyer (always good to have someone whose up to speed on legalities), my daughter the computer geek, my friend Ken the marketing guru, and my friend Karin who is also an entrepreneur and is a good one to turn to when I have questions about communication. (She's the one who keeps me from blasting off emails I may regret later!). I also have friends who keep me up to date with the latest Alzheimer's research and the current services available for my dad (they work for the area Agency on Aging), a nurse and a holisitc health practioner that provide me with the latest health news (Dearl's heart), and two grandchildren who remind me when I'm not taking enough time for the important things in life ("Nee-Nee, why haven't you been by to see us lately? We miss you!")

How do you find the people for your team? You probably already know many of them so just ask. Tell them you are forming a team of advisors for your business and would like them to be part of it. Lay out the ground rules for their participation such as how to contact them, when to contact them, will they be compensated for their services, etc. Once you have them in place, ask them for referrals to people who may fill other needs for you. If they can't make any recommendations, then get out and network. I met my lawyer through the Girl Scouts and the nurse at a women's networking luncheon. And I have a whole network of internet marketers I can turn to for advice just from attending the jvAlert events. And of course, there is the wonderful group of ladies that make up the Baby Boomer Divas. They are a never ending source of support and advice!

"Solopreneur" - it's just a word. It doesn't mean you have to go through the business experience alone. Build your team. Use your team. And one day when someone who is just starting out on their own asks you to be on their team, remember where you came from and say yes!

P.S. The general consensus from my team of experts has been to ditch the Day Planner, burn the Post-It notes, and USE THE BLACKBERRY. I'm not sure I'm ready for this, but I trust their advice so here goes. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Beverly Mahone said...

Melodieann,

I have a team too. It's a very small circle of TRUSTED confidantes who I go to when I need opinions, advice, guidance, ect. Everyone needs to have a small group around them to help them and help keep them GROUNDED. Oprah has one :)

Another excellent post!