Behind every successful small business owner you'll find a solid business team. From the attorneys that form the entities and draw up contracts to the vendors that deliver supplies, each business team member's role is crucial to make the small business operate as a well-oiled machine. If one person drops the ball, the system can fail. You might not even know something's amiss until it affects your bottom line.
If you want to best your competition, follow these essential steps to form a solid small business team.
Building a Successful Small Business Team
1. Know your business process
Define your business steps to determine the players you need. A flower shop owner may know the immediate staff required at the counter and behind the scenes, but what about suppliers for flowers, vases (crystal and glass), tissue paper, packaging/boxes, delivery vans (rent or own), maintenance for refrigeration?
2. Define materials and vendors needed to fulfill specific tasks
Form the team that can keep your business processes delivering quality products/services. One supplier may provide higher quality orchids at a better price point than another. Determine which vendors should have a role in your business plan execution, and let them know they may receive more of your business if they can provide favorable pricing or performance related to other essential items.
3. Engage a contract attorney
Draw up and review contracts between your owning entity and vendors. A reputable, ethical attorney can provide quick, reasonably-priced services that could save your business during legal disputes, should they arise.
4. Define a timeline for deliverables
Put a clear process in writing so that each player knows the timing of an expected deliverable. The floral designer in the back of the flower shop needs to know when specific flowers will be delivered on a routine basis, just as the flower supplier needs to know when the designer needs them. Prioritize these, among other time-sensitive steps, in sequential order.
5. "Secret shop" the competition
See how your competitors conduct business, and then take yours a notch higher. Go to a competitor's flower shop and order an arrangement for delivery. Test that team's ability to deliver quality products and services when compared to yours. Capitalize on their downfalls.
The Benefits of a Great Business Team
When you have a solid team in place, it can yield entrepreneurial advantages.
1. Work "on" your business, not "in" it
A well-functioning flower shop staff can work successfully with vendors and customers, allowing the owner to step out of daily operations and focus on strategic business development.
2. Gain market share
Market advantage ultimately prevails when your business processes operate more efficiently than your competition's.
3. Continuous improvement
Focus on ways of further improving your products and services through education and staying on top of the latest technologies in your industry.
Your team defines your business. Carefully select your in-house staff, vendors/suppliers, attorneys and accountants. Their compatibility can either make or break your business.
Shari L. Gould has more than 16 years of journalism and technical writing experience. She is the CEO of four limited liability companies in the real estate investment and property management industries.
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