Running a company is a lot like running a television show. A business owner, just like an executive producer of a show, is responsible for the look, feel and overall direction of the production. Your workers are your team and foundation, and a strong foundation will take your business to incredible heights.
I am very fortunate to have an amazing team at Deborah Mitchell Media Associates. Each person brings something inspiring to the table. Besides doing their jobs efficiently, creatively and professionally, they have the best ideas.
While choosing a member for your business team may sound easy, don’t be fooled. It takes a lot of work to find just the right people to make your business soar. So what goes into a strong team? Here are some tips as you expand your business this year.
1. Size doesn’t matter
Having a large staff does not guarantee better work, but having the right staff does. My television production staff is small and so is my team at DMMA, but we are getting the job done. As the person in charge, you are responsible for determining your company’s needs, looking at each worker, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and figuring out where they fit best on the team. As a startup company, a small team may be what you can afford right now, and that’s OK.
2. Interns as potential hires
Hire interns and have them work for you for a few weeks so you can get a sense of how they work. Interns usually join a company to get experience and network while getting school credit. The time during the internship is a perfect opportunity for you to see how they work and get to know them.
You will have three to six months – the typical length of an internship – to work with an intern and learn more about that person. Is he or she motivated to work and eager to learn? Is he or she punctual? Does he or she fit in the company culture?
I’ve found a few great interns on Craigslist, and we have an ad on internship.com running right now. If you don’t want to place an ad, then contact your college and look into posting an ad there. Investigate potential interns so you know who you are working with. Look at their social media, create an application process, and gather data that is important to you. If you need more, ask them to write a proposal showing how they can bring value to the brand.
Also, connections can happen by chance or through introductions, so tell family, friends and other business associates that you have an internship available.
3. Your team should motivate you
As an entrepreneur, sometimes it is difficult to keep your energy up and stay positive. It’s a welcome thing if your team can inspire you and keep you going. When your team members are good at what they do, know their roles, and are creative and reliable, it frees you up to concentrate on the company’s big picture and next step. I can only think about the future when I know the situation of the moment is taken care off.
When building your team, know what you are looking for in a potential team member. Create a list of requirements or a checklist of things you look for in a potential candidate. This says it all. Will he or she complete the task in a determined timeframe? How will he or she do it?
Take the candidate for a test run. Ask him or her to complete a test task before you make a decision. I believe a test run is important. I find that people will put their best foot forward three to six months into a job. What you want to see is if their enthusiasm, professionalism and creativity are just as good after that time period.
Be wary of a candidate who is a jack of all trades. Don’t have one person handling too many responsibilities. Determine his or her strengths and nurture them.
Finally, sometimes when you are in your own entrepreneurial 24/7 grind, it is easy to forget that other people have their own lives. Check in with your team periodically to see if they are happy with their positions and their future goals at the company. If you are concerned about them, they will be concerned about you.