Step One: Planning Your Dream Team
Building a true “Dream Team” team starts well before the hiring process: It begins the instant you first think “I need help with my online business”. In fact, it may even begin before that: If you are experienced at business planning, you may have planned to grow your business from a single owner enterprise to a full team-based business right from your first daydream. Your business predecessors often learned from trial and error in hiring and managing teams – and that goes double for online team management, which had to be virtually re-invented from offline principles and practices. Many of the same principles and practices apply – but there are some key differences. For starters, with a virtual, online team, your key employee or contractor may live in a completely different country. You usually don’t meet face to face, so you can base impressions on body language and personal chemistry. You can get around this to some extent with Skype interviews, especially, if you both have web cams; but you are depending largely on what you read online. This is why it will be extra important to check every reference. But before we ever get to the interviewing stage, there is one important step to take…
Step One: Planning Your Dream Team
Before we begin our planning, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. What exactly is a “dream team”? You will get different answers from different types of businesses in different industries and niches, as well as business owners with different philosophies, but it all boils down to this:
- A “Dream Team” is one that rounds out and complements your own skills and talents, enabling your company to reap real profit while experiencing healthy growth and building your company’s reputation.
In other words, a Dream Team fills in your gaps and makes you and your company stronger and better-rounded. So knowing exactly who you need to hire is your most important first step. For most small, online businesses, this boils down to answering one question:
- “Will one talented Virtual Assistant do the trick, or do I need to plan for several team members?”
Which leads to another question, if the latter is your answer…
- “Exactly how many is ‘several’?”
And that depends on you. It depends on how well-formed and realistic your vision is, and what your ambitions might be. It depends on your company mission and goals. For example, do you see yourself at the head of a fleet of minions, all slaving away over typewriters? If you want to create a copywriting empire, churning out hundreds of modules of Private Label Rights material and sub-contracted client projects monthly, this vision may be surprisingly close to the mark. On the other hand, if you just need someone to take care of the non-billable tasks – the ones you lose money by performing yourself – your dream team is likely to consist of four or less team members. As little as one competent Virtual Assistant can make your business blossom and turn into a powerful niche presence to be reckoned with.
- Seven questions to ask yourself, before deciding on your team needs:
- Where do I see my company, five years down the road? Ten years down the road?
- Do I want to sell it eventually or do I always want to be a sole proprietor?
- Is my business highly dependent on me and my personality, as well as my unique outlook, experience and skill sets?
- Would my business cease to exist if I left it?
- Do I ever want to run a large company, or am I happy with a very small organization?
- What do my clients need? What do I do if they “want more”?
- What’s my budget now? What am I planning for, budget-wise and profit-wise, as my company grows?
Once you have decided on the number of team members you want (a) now (b) further down the road, it’s time to focus on the immediate future.
- How many people are you going to hire or contract immediately?
One? Two? More? ________________
- Sit down and write out a list of tasks you want these new hires to supervise or perform.
Some suggestions to get you started:
- Content writing
- Content formatting
- Web design and maintenance
- Webinar management (can include transcription)
- Podcasting management (can include transcription)
- Video editor
- Shopping cart and Autoresponder management
- Social media management
- Help Desk management (customer service)
- Advertising management (can include writing ads and metrics)
- General support
- Write down all the tasks you currently Highlight all the tasks that don’t make you money directly. (Example: Bookkeeping is necessary, but if you spend the entire morning posting and filing receipts, you haven’t made a penny; on the other hand, if you spend the entire morning writing a Direct Response ad for your copywriting-business client, you’ve just made three hundred dollars.)
- Study your list and decide how many team members you need right now. (Circle them with pen, change the text to a different color or highlight them in different colors – whatever works for you mentally, when organizing.
Example: Following this process allows you to perform two valuable functions:
- Determine and clarify the exact tasks you need to outsource or delegate
- Determine how many separate team members you actually need to hire
Of course, this doesn’t have to be cast in stone: For example, you may not be able to find a VA who specializes in all of the above at once. On the other hand, you may find a fantastic WordPress expert who can create WordPress landing pages. Based on the above criteria, you could end up with any combination (depending on who is available), such as:
- A VA who copywrites and a web designer
- A VA who handles WordPress, a transcriptionist and a copywriter
- A VA who does all of the above
When you have finally hired your Dream Team, then you can decide who answers to whom: And the more team members you hire, the more likely someone will have to supervise them. Finally, the last question you need to ask yourself…
- Do I need a General, Office or Project Manager to supervise all the other new members, or can I fulfill this function myself?
Stay tuned for Step Two: Preparing to Hire Feeling overwhelmed? Click here to visit our homepage where you can sign up for our Step By Step Guide: Grow Your Business by Hiring Your Dream Team.