Sometimes growth and development comes from afar in the form of one person’s vision. Take the youngster Ryan Allis who shares his entrepreneurial secrets in a new book called Zero to One Million: How I Build My Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too. He launched an email marketing firm called iContact. Recently, I sent Ryan some questions to answer for this blog. Here’s part one of our Q&A:
LGL: What are the must-have team members? In other words, what makes up the core group that an entrepreneur must assemble to have a chance at success?
RA: There are definitely a few must-have team members that all entrepreneurs should surround themselves with to build a successful company.
I recommend that, in the beginning, you find a good business partner who can compliment your skills and who has strengths where you may have weaknesses. Finding a good business partner who will become fully vested in your company can be a long process that takes a lot of research and time, but can often make the difference between your company’s success or failure. My business partner, Aaron Houghton, and I were able to create something greater than either of us could have created separately.
As far as the core group needed for a successful business, I believe you need a few key people to make up your Board of Directors: CEO, company Chairman, CTO, CFO, Marketing and Corporate Communications Directors, a Director of Customer Service and a Human Resources Director. Often when you are starting out, the same people will fill multiple management positions, as was iContact’s case when it began in 2003.
LGL: What about growing a business? When is the right time to hire employees and tap the services of outside consultants?
RA: Let me start off by saying that when you are initially creating your business and can afford to bring on your first employee, do so. If not, you will simply be creating a job for yourself rather than building a sustainable business.
Before you launch your company, you may want to bring additional people onto your Board of Directors. These people could be veterans in your industry or key investors. As your company grows, you will have to add certain professionals and outside consultants to your team. You will want to have a good accountant, attorney, financial advisor, insurance agent, and banker. These advisors can be instrumental in helping your company succeed. Eventually, you may be able to develop a secondary layer of management depending on the needs of your business.