Most would agree there is value in being prepared for circumstances before they arise.
Have you ever needed to go to a dressy affair, only to find that you have nothing to wear? You must desperately shop at the last minute, when you are completely at the mercy of what is hanging on the racks. When this has happened to me, I’m disgusted with myself and bemoan that I did not keep my wardrobe up to date!
Now imagine you have a more pressing issue than clothing: a legal problem, an emotional crisis or a financial snafu. You now must simultaneously deal with the stressful situation AND summon professional help.
In business (and life) it is wise to assemble a consortium of individuals and organizations to call upon before they are needed. I call my pool of professionals my “Dream Team.”
My team consists of a financial planner, several coaches, a bookkeeper, a lawyer, babysitters, an accountant, computer support, graphic designers, an editor, a web master, a photographer and many more. Having this host of experts to handle any issue that could arise, be it small or large, keeps me secure…literally and emotionally.
Having them identified before I need them insures that I won’t have to settle for what is “hanging on the rack.” Rather, I know that I am calling a person I trust.
Being a small business owner, I can’t, nor do I want to, have a lot of people working IN my business. Nor am I good at a lot of the things that need to be done. Forming my Dream Team of professionals insures that I can manage any situation that comes up and get back to doing what I do best.
So, how do you establish this syndicate of folks?
First, make a list of the functions that you could need. Focus first on the broad categories of business such as finance, marketing, or technology. Then move on to your life as a whole. What about repairs and health care? Make your list as comprehensive as possible.
Next, under each category, brainstorm whom you already know in each category that can provide this service. You may have met a few different accountants but don’t really know them very well. List their names here. Also make notes about whom you know who has hired this kind of service before. Later you may want to call your connection and ask for a referral. A recommendation for a dream team member beats a blind phone call any day.
The next step is listing the characteristics of each person that are important to you. For example, you may want an attorney from a large firm so that he or she can handle a variety of legal situations. Conversely, you may want a web designer from a small business who will personally be involved in your project. Make a list of the less quantifiable characteristics as well, such as “easily accessible by phone or e-mail” or “has X years of experience.”
Begin to make contact with people and organizations you are interested in. Allot time each month to make formal connections with the people on your list. Take time to learn how they do business and decide if they are a good fit for you. .
Keep this list handy, review it regularly and let the magic begin. It’s my experience that once you identify a need you will serendipitously meet people that can provide the precise services you want. It’s magical. Over time, as you meet more and more people, establishing a formal or semi-formal relationship, you will form your very own Dream Team.