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Entrepreneurs can’t do it alone

April 13, 2010

By their very nature entrepreneurs are independent thinkers and personalities.  They have confidence in their own abilities and often drive blindingly toward their goals.  Sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.

One of things all entrepreneurs could benefit from understanding is that they can’t do it all by themselves.  Successful businesses may be built on the vision of a leader (Ford, Microsoft and, closer to home, 1-800-Got-Junk, Jim Pattison Group and Rocky Mountaineer come to mind).  But they only succeed if that leader can assemble a team of complementary skill sets.

Bill Gates has Steve Ballmer, Sergei and Larry have Eric, Walt Disney had Roy, Clive Beddoe had Mark Hill.  I can’t emphasize enough the value of a good team – I have the war wounds to prove it.

PCWorks was my second business.  It struggled and I struggled in it for eighteen months.  I hired incorrectly, I took office space and other overhead on too quickly, I advertised to aggressively and I didn’t focus relentlessly enough on getting sales (ie cash from customers) in the door.

Even in light of all the challenges in that business, I always understood that I needed a team to work with me.  I understood my strengths.  More importantly, I understood my weaknesses.  Given my weaknesses I knew the business needed a cracker jack computer tech (I’m not a techie) and it needed a guerrilla salesperson.

Bringing a team together is easier said than done.  Even though I was looking for my “A-Team” from day one, it still took me eighteen months to find them.  And I didn’t meet them through an expensive head hunter, I found them through personal relationships.  My director of business development came through a longtime personal friend and my director of services came through professional acquaintance.

The lesson here for me is not to underestimate the challenge in finding the right team members at the right time in their professional lives and in the life of one’s business.

Entrepreneurs should never be afraid to ask for help.

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