This is one part of an ongoing series on www.entpathways.com. In this article, we're discussing the skill of networking.
Our program, Entrepreneur Journey, focuses on teaching high school students how to become entrepreneurs. Part of this is learning the skills of an entrepreneur, including team building. Team building means putting a good group of people together who have specific skills and a purpose.
Think of building legos. Each person on your team is a lego that is necessary to make a vision a reality. Each piece may be outstanding on their own, but they all need to fit together, or else the piece will do no good.
In order to be great at team building, an entrepreneur needs to be able to evaluate people on their strengths and weaknesses as related to the entrepreneur’s vision. The team should be greater than the sum of its parts.
Team building is a step beyond networking, because instead of just reaching out for resources you need to actually convince people that you and your vision are worth working for.
Keep Friends Friendly
When entrepreneurs first start a business, they may try to get their friends involved. ("Hey, let's work together!) While this is well-meant, it can be a detrimental mistake.
Business relationships are very different from friendships. Business relationships have goals and a vision, whereas a friendship is usually about people who simply enjoy each other's company. When a friendship changes to a business relationship, it can change, and not for the better.
The best team members might not be people you would be friendly with outside of work.
A common mistake with building teams is looking for others who have the same skill sets as you. However, an effective team is a group where no weaknesses are exposed. For example, having a team where everyone can sell but no one knows how to handle finances is not beneficial.
A successful entrepreneur figures out what they are not good at and then finds team members who will provide that skill. This will build a team that can look at problems from different angles.
Be The Dumbest Person In The Room
Who is the worst musician in an orchestra?
If the conductor was the best oboist in the room, they would be playing instead of conducting.
Being the best, or smartest, is not the route to take. You want to surround yourself with people smarter than you, more skilled than you, and more capable than you. The job of the entrepreneur is to “orchestrate” the skills and activities of the team to create beautiful music, or build a business from their vision.
Learn more about the other skills of entrepreneurship: