How To Build a Strong Team for Your Business

If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too largeJeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.

We may chuckle at the above quote by Amazon’s CEO and Founder, but there’s truth to it. It’s important to have the right amount of people on your team when you’re starting in business. You don’t want too many opinions, but you also don’t want to be in isolation.

Equally as important as the size of the team are the different roles that the various members will fill.

 So, how do you know who to put on your team to ensure its durability? Well, that answer is dependent on what type of support you’re looking for. Is the team advisory in nature or will these people be in the trenches with you during the daily grind? Let’s take a look at both cases.

Your Advisory Board

As sole proprietor and owner of your business, you can only see but so far. You mostly likely don’t have enough emotional distance between you and your business to be able to make the best decisions for it. So, you’ll need a team to keep you honest and help you make hard decisions.             

These professionals will protect you and your family’s best interests and prevent you from making unwise exchanges and transactions.

An attorney, for example, will advise you on which legal entity to register your business under. They will also review all necessary contracts, lease agreements, operating agreements, etc. that you’ll need to have on file.

An accountant will show you how to set up your books and make sure the IRS doesn’t come after you for inaccurate tax filings. They would also be able to shed some light on the tax implications of whichever legal entity you choose (LLC, C corps, S corps, B corps).

Also on the “money side” to consider would be a banker or someone who works at a lending institution. You may not need a loan starting out, but if you do, you will need someone who can vouch for you–especially if your credit score isn’t ideal.

Depending on what type of business you have, you may be taking on a great deal of risk. For example, anyone in the food industry has to be mindful of all of the licenses and regulations involved in handling and serving food. It would be a good idea to have an insurance agent on your advisory team to make sure you have the appropriate coverage.

Lastly, a business counselor will be able to help you navigate through all of the stages of your business. They can formulate an execution strategy for you, give you counsel on your business plan and point you to other resources you may not be aware of.

Your Administrative Team

Once your external advisory team is in line, it’s time to determine who you will have working with you on the day-to-day operations of your business. The best place to start would be to do a strengths test and to get confirmation of those results from people who have worked closely with you. You may think that you are very administrative in nature, but your former coworker may tell you otherwise. Take a slice of humble pie now before your business suffers from your desire to be the “Jill” of all trades.

Keep in mind, of course, that if you’re just starting out, you may not have a huge budget for payroll. And that’s fine. Do as much as you can yourself, invest in what’s truly important and outsource the rest (or download some apps)!

Marketing is an essential component of your business’s success. It is worth the investment to hire a person who will do target market research for you. This will save you time and money because this person will pinpoint the specific sites your ideal customers’ visit, as opposed to paying for ads that they’ll never see. If you can find someone who not only does the research, but also carries out the marketing campaign and handles communications, you’ll be far ahead of the game. The marketing specialist should have different spheres of influence than you so your network is always growing.

Other than that, it is always a smart move to have a secretary or assistant. When you’re out meeting potential customers/clients, your assistant will answer the phones and take care of everything on the home front. This person should have realistic expectations of a startup’s pace, should be committed to you and your vision and should be emotionally strong and technologically adept enough to handle whatever comes their way.

Between the three of you and your external advisory team, your business should see steady growth!


Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith is passionate about connecting marginalized populations to resources that position them for success. As a business counselor at the Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia, she equips aspiring business owners with the tools they need to become economically empowered through entrepreneurship. She teaches monthly business startup classes and conducts daily counseling sessions to meet the individual needs of her clients.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.