By Ken Goodfellow

You don’t have to be an architect or a civil engineer to know that strong permanent structures need a solid foundation.  If you relate this to business, your foundation is your team. Without a great team your business cannot run optimally.  How many times have you heard one bad apple spoils the whole bunch – sounds like yadda yadda yadda – but it only takes one sour team member to start your whole business rotting to the core.

As a successful entrepreneur you probably feel like you never have a free moment, let alone extra time to hand-pick team members.  Recruiting, sorting through resumes, phoning references and personally interviewing candidates is a truly time-consuming task – can you really identify a candidate’s work ethic, drive and personality in such a brief encounter?

It takes time, skill and practice to cherry pick the best candidates for your team.  Before you even start to recruit, you should already know what you are looking for in the new team member – independence, confidence and drive in a sales rep; sincerity, friendliness and people skills in reception staff and so on.  Each individual position on your team requires a different skill set and defining what you are looking for before you start will save time and effort and derive a better result.

It is only natural to be attracted to people who are like us, share our interests and values and have similar personalities, but it is a big mistake to fill your team with people just like you.  A cohesive mixture of individuals will propel your business forward and keep it moving in a positive direction.

The most common reason for acquiring new people is to replace a team member or to expand your staff. In either case it is only natural to feel compelled to get new boots on the ground as soon as possible to fill that gap, but rushing to hire will be a disservice to you, your business and the rest of your team.  It may seem like an arduous task that you don’t have time for, but slowing down the selection process will actually save you time and money in the long run because the “right” candidate will improve the whole team and help take your business to the next level.

Top producers and cream-of-the-crop candidates are a rare breed and are highly sought after – and they know it.  So to win them over, you need to make them an offer they can’t refuse as the Godfather would say.  To successfully entice them, you need to find out what their prime motivator is, for example monetary bonuses, a car allowance, extra time off or an expense account.  It is also critical that your commission policy meets or beats your competitor’s – otherwise you will find your perfect candidate working against you instead of for you.

One thing many entrepreneurs overlook is their Mission and Vision Statement, which should be easily accessible as well as dynamic and progressive.  You can be sure that high achievers will be checking you out long before they allow you to check them out and you might be missing out on some top people if your business doesn’t successfully self promote.  Everyone wants to work on a team that seems energetic, exciting, forward-thinking and destined for greatness and the best candidates not only want this – they crave it.

Hiring the right people the first time is a win-win situation. A strong cohesive team will produce strong results, exceed goals and put your company on top. A capable, pro-active and independent team will improve your quality of life.  Without a strong team in place, you will be working too much and too hard overseeing, double-checking, recruiting, interviewing and micro-managing – wouldn’t it be grand to have your life back?

Do you have a vision of your “perfect” team?  Are you capable of creating that team on your own? Do you have the time? Most highly successful entrepreneurs simply don’t and that is where a business coach can be invaluable. Knowing that you have a time-tested “mentor” who has been in your shoes and knows the ropes and can guide you through the steps of building a great team is worth its weight in gold.


Leave a Reply