Date: March 25, 2010

Author: JT

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Do You Have It In You…to be an Entrepreneur (Team)

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This is the third in a four-part series asking, “Do you have it in you, to be an entrepreneur?” There are four key strengths that are must haves for an entrepreneur to be successful.  Previously, I discussed the Passion and Guts.  Here, we’ll discuss team.

I suspect, when most people think of an ‘entrepreneur’ they’re thinking of a single person, moving mountains on their own, going it alone.  Later, they marvel at how the one individual became an ‘internet millionaire’ or now owns a 1,000 person company or some such.

The reality is so very far from that truth.  No matter who the successful entrepreneur is, they are always surrounded by their team. Look at the names you know, like Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki. Robert tells stories in his books about the importance of building a team.  Donald, especially in the acclaimed Apprentice series, made the value of team very visible by including them on his own television show.

As a new entrepreneur you need to build a team around you.  If you haven’t, it’s not too late.

Depending on the business you want to build, the exact makeup of your team will vary.  At a very minimum, you need these people on your team: a CPA, insurance agent, and attorney.  Let me use a few small examples from my own experience.

As I mentioned in Guts, my wife and I created a company for real estate investing.  The primary activities were investing and leasing.  In preparation for launching our business we read perhaps a dozen books and consulted with people we knew.  One of the best things we did, was follow Robert Kiyosaki’s advice in the Rich Dad Poor Dad series.  He made a strong case for building a team around you.

Before we bought our first investment, we interviewed multiple attorneys, consultants, and insurance agents.  And its a darned good thing we did.  Conducting our interviews we learned each person’s strengths and weaknesses.  For instance, some attorneys focus on civil/criminal matters and know very little about real estate.  Some insurance agents focus on commercial business but do very little ‘retail’ or consumer business and vice versa.  On top of finding someone skilled in your area of business, it is also important to find someone you feel comfortable working with…not necessarily ‘like’…but comfortable they know their business and can come to your aid when needed.

Three examples:

Insurance agent – After interviewing, we decided to change insurance agents.  The newer agent was more current, and more local to the properties in question.  Being more aware of local developments, including two new fire stations near one property, was enough to drop our insurance rates $1,500/year while improving overall coverage.

Attorney – Unfortunately, we had to evict our first tenant.  Neither of us had gone to court previously for anything more than a simple traffic ticket.  Our attorney gave us specific guidance and, when we had to make an appearance, represented us and effectively held our hands.

Certified Public Accountant – Our current CPA has been with us for some time.  We’re a small business.  Yet, in just the past 5 yea
rs, his expert knowledge has saved us $10s of thousands of dollars in taxes.  Not through evasion, or ‘stretching’ what we can get away with (we’re too conservative), but through simple depth of knowledge and application.

Don’t try, don’t feel, you need to go it alone.  Don’t feel your team’s services are too expensive or you can’t afford them.  Your team will give you strength, support, you never knew you had.  They will enable you to accomplish more than you might have imagined.  Chosen well, they will prove to be worth their weight in gold.

They will provide comfort for you when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.

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