About 2 weeks ago I had a meeting with an MD and business owner of a fairly large company in the Creative Sector. It was a successful company to date and was making good profit. The team he had built all bought into the story of the company and they had managed to stay lean to date and keep their best staff. Good news so far.
This particular MD was ambitious, a popular trait amongst many of the business owners I deal with. He was looking to take the business to the next level and had a number of opportunities to expand including buying new premises, large scale projects and also the potential to either take investors on board or raise money for the expansion. Again, all positive
However, This business owner was clearly exhausted about the “next step”. He had a clear vision of where he wanted the business to go, which sounded exciting, he believed that he had the right culture within his business to grow without many issues, but he felt one thing was holding him back from going to the next level.
“He didn’t feel that he had the right external team in place”.
To take a business to the next level, there comes a certain point where you need to build a strong professional team around you. All successful entrepreneurs have them, they are usually hidden out of sight.
What does a successful professional team look like?
When I deal with these type of clients, I usually like to meet and question the roles of the existing external team. I am talking primarily about professionals that include accountants, bankers, corporate lawyers and even those that sort insurance out for the business.
I am always looking for a few traits in these meetings including the ability to be proactive and keep up to date, the ongoing requirement to add value and I always favour those that are in it for the long term. Too often time is wasted explaining your issues to multiple people for the same issue. All three of these are incredibly valuable to a successful business owner.
On the other side, if you don’t have this external team taking responsibilities off your shoulders, you are going to struggle to take the business to the next level. I have seen it first hand. How are you going to know whether the capital raising is the right deal for your business or whether your cash flow is being forecasted correctly or whether your banker has your back when things go south sometimes. You need a good team of external professionals around you to get these important jobs done so that the business owner can do what they are best at - running the business!
When building an external team of professionals, I personally don’t think you will go far wrong if you follow the 6 points below:
Understand what professionals you need in your external team
Ask others in similar situations to you for recommendations
Lean on trusted professional’s existing networks
Build strong working relationships with the professionals
Make sure that the team of professionals are communicating with each other effectively and are all on the same page.
Don’t accept mediocrity. This is your livelihood at the end of the day.
I hope this helps. The MD above has asked me to start meeting his existing professionals to see if their goals align with his. A good professional team takes time to build but is a huge factor in success. Think about how many times a year a business owner will be faced with making a key decision. It becomes much easier when you have people around you that you trust that have your back. Get rid of those that don’t.