Regardless of its size, a business is only as strong as its leadership.
Your management team will provide the leadership for your business. The members of that team should possess a variety of skills and should handle multiple functions within the organization. Their skills should complement your skills. As your company grows, your team can become more specialized; however, in the beginning, they will wear multiple hats, as will you.
Even a small business of one needs a management team. You just may be wearing all of the hats and relying on outside resources while you launch your business.
For example, your business may not require the full-time services of an accountant, but you may need contracted accounting services for payroll and taxes. The person you’ve contracted is part of your team but not part of your payroll.
Within your business plan, the organization of your management team should cover the following business issues:
- Customer service
- Information technology and computers
- Industry-specific challenges
You may not have a seperate individual in each of these roles, or you may be filling the majority of these roles yourself. No matter your particular situation, take time to consider each of these areas carefully. Outline the responsibilities of each department or individual in order to gain a clear understanding of each role.
Be realistic with yourself and your employees: Can all of these departments be adequately covered with the personnel that you have in place? As a solo enterprise, will you be relying heavily on outside contractual assistance? Do you have the time or desire to learn areas that are not within your expertise?
Committing your management team to paper forces you to recognize any holes in your personnel lineup. As you’re working on this team, collect résumés of management staff or contracted individuals, where appropriate. (Complete résumés and business brochures can be saved for the appendix section of your business plan.)
Outline the skills and experience that you consider necessary for the job or assignment. By doing this exercise, you may uncover defects in your plan. It’s best to uncover them now in the planning phase rather than later in the operations-and-recovery phase.
If you’re a corporation, a list of your board of directors (cataloguing their backgrounds) should be included in your business plan. Noncorporations may be forming a board of experts — similar to but more informal than a board of directors — so include their backgrounds, as well.
Remember: You’re building a team, which means more than just hiring or contracting the right people. Your team needs to be able to work together, to share common goals and visions. Your team is only as strong as its weakest link, which cannot be measured by individual attributes.
Creating and managing your team may be one of your biggest business challenges. Some business experts like to refer to this as “managing the peopleware.” It’s sort of like managing the company’s hardware or software, but instead of crashing, an inadequate peopleware may talk back, refuse to cooperate, slam doors, stamp around the office, or just plain balk at being a contributing part of the company.
A deficient or ineffective management team can be more harmful to the integrity of your business than a computer virus. If a person isn’t part of the solution, then he or she is part of the problem. Choose your team wisely. Be prepared to shuffle the lineup, too. It comes with wearing the owner’s cap.
Your team could be what distinguishes your business idea from a multitude of others, especially if you’re looking for financing or funding. If you’re in the startup phase and writing the initial plan, include the team in the writing and planning process. Your team is a direct reflection of your business idea.
This will also be an ideal opportunity to see how well your team can work together. This doesn’t mean how well everyone agrees on each and every small detail of the plan, however. A meeting of the minds is a good thing … a team of yes-men is not.
You need not go it alone in your business-planning process. It’s a winning strategy to use the energies of those around you: your team!
For further reading on incorporating your management team in your business plan, check out Presenting the Management and Ownership Section of a Business Plan. For help in creating your management team, read Spotlighting Key Personnel in Your Business Plan.