Building a Management Team
No entrepreneur can do everything by himself. At some point of time, he realises the need to build a management team of people as good, if not smarter, than him. That also means learning to delegate and trust others to do the job. This doesnt come easily to most entrepreneurs.
This is because for the entrepreneur, his venture is all-consuming. It is life. There is little distinction or separation between personal and business time. Everything is related to the business. This same belief is not necessarily shared by others who become part of the management team. This is where the entrepreneur needs to respect their time and space. He needs to accept that while they may not share the same passion as him, they are also now part of the venture and as committed to its success.
Recruiting the management is a challenge in itself. Paying a headhunter to find these people can become a very expensive. More often than not, the entrepreneur will look for people he has known or worked with in the past, and shares some common threads with. The danger here is that the new team can become all too similar. It is necessary to introduce variety and get people with differing, even opposing, viewpoints.
People make the business. And people will also be the cause for most of the entrepreneurs heartaches, enigmas and delights. Even as the people come together to form a team, the entrepreneur needs to continue to be the motivator-in-chief. After all, he is the reason why the others are there.
One of the dilemmas an entrepreneur faces is how much to spend on product promotion and how. Putting up advertisements is a great thrill, but there is a problem in the early stages, the venture is unlikely to sustain an advertising campaign. The entrepreneur will typically look for returns on each ad put up, and that may not be the best way to build a brand. At the same time, it may not be easy to allocate funds for a large campaign.
What needs to be done is that the entrepreneur needs to look at more cost-effective ways of promotion. Meeting people he knows, speaking at seminars and conferences, writing for publications, blogging are all cost-effective techniques to generate buzz. They have a cost only in terms of the entrepreneurs time, and not hard (and scarce) cash.
The entrepreneurs passion is the best advocate for the product and that needs to be visible. In the early stages, customers are making a bet as much on him as the product. The entrepreneurs infectious enthusiasm must be visible to everyone. He has to be confident about success, balanced with humility. The entrepreneur must talk to as wide a number of people as possible one doesnt know which connection will trigger off a chain of positive events.
The entrepreneur must be open and transparent. There is little to lose ideas can be copied, but its very difficult to replicate the entire thinking that the entrepreneur has. In todays world, entrepreneurs must think of sharing their ideas with one and all it will get them a lot of feedback from the outside world. Think of this as open-source company.
Tomorrow: Entrepreneurs Enigmas (continued)