Small Business Team: The 7 People You Want On Yours
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Having the right makeup of your small business team is critical to achieving success. The pressure is on a small team to be the right mix of people. Everyone needs to meet the demands of their role. That’s a given. I want to tackle this issue one step up.

Who are the archetypes each small business team must have? Roles aren’t defined clearly in a small business. Certain tasks don’t get dedicated resources. You have to market. That doesn’t mean you get a marketing department, or even a marketing manager.

So here’s my list of the 7 people you want on your small business team.


1. The Leader

That’s you — the business owner. Consensus and collaboration are helpful concepts. But your team requires a leader to provide vision, direction, and support. The Leader isn’t all-knowing. You aren’t required to have all the answers. That’s why you hire talented people around you.

The leader sets strategy and makes sure the rest of the team has the resources they need to achieve their goals. You offer guidance and expertise. You bring people back on point if they stray, and make sure they know more is demanded of them if they fall short.

Modern business leadership isn’t about pulling your team along behind you. It’s creating a framework that gives your team confidence and space to execute on the company’s vision.

2. Creative Thinker

Not always the big vision guy, but closely related. The Leader is the focal point of the big vision, but should have assistance. The team’s Creative Thinker doesn’t fit the left brain-right brain dichotomy. The Creative Thinker is willing to smash the wheel.

Like the Leader, they have industry expertise. They’re also an avid reader, listener, and follower of innovation and trends. That doesn’t mean they recommend every shiny new object. They keep the Leader current on how your market is changing. They help keep your small business relevant. Advisor and sounding board, they’re both critic and innovator.

3. Cash Flow Specialist

Insufficient capital and poor cash flow management are leading causes of small business failure. No company survives without a person who understands accounting, finance, and cash flow.

Your Cash Flow Specialist loves the details of forecasting revenue. They’re not shy about getting after your accounts receivable. They’re on top of your accounts payable so the business isn’t wasting money on late fees and interest. They research in detail which financial instruments provide the right balance of liquidity and return.

They don’t hesitate to tell people “no” when the cash flow budget can’t afford more expense. That includes you. You may want to hold a special Halloween party. That requires reworking your entire kitchen and buying extra ingredients. But if you can’t afford it, they’ll let you know. And yes, they’ve set out a cash flow budget and a cushion for the unexpected.

At any moment, they can update you on the financial state of the company. Their records are meticulous. That’s how they keep you right with your taxes and your vendors.

4. Project Manager

Depending on the size of your small business, the Project Manager may have different titles. A larger small business may have a chief operating officer. In smaller businesses, your Project Manager may be an office manager or practice manager.

Whatever the title, they’re the nerve center that keeps your team executing on a daily basis. They make sure your team is stocked in the tools they need. Whether it’s software, printer paper, product inventory, or finding the right new hires.

One of their most critical roles is enforcing accountability. Due to their vigilance, customers get serviced and employees are productive. Everyone goes home happy. Except them, they’re exhausted.

5. IT Geek

A lot of small businesses outsource IT support. That makes sense. Regardless, every small business needs one gadget-loving IT Geek on the team to help out. At least they’re the main point of contact with all your software help lines. They’re talking with your electronic records vendor when the system can’t find any records. That is, if they weren’t able to resolve the issue on their own.

They have their eye out for new technologies that help your business run better. Cloud computing has leveled the field between small business and enterprise technology options. Consider your IT Geek your cloud Sherpa. If the Dropbox reddit is buzzing with news of a potential security risk to your computer system, they’re on top of it. If you don’t know what a Dropbox reddit is, don’t worry. Your IT Geek does.

6. Community Manager

“Community Manager” is most often used to describe the person handling your social media. The Community Manager archetype is much larger than that.

They have the personality and social skills to keep everyone on the team playing nicely with each other. They are the ones who know all your customers’ names, and they know theirs. Their excellent customer service instincts shape customer policy and deal with service problems.

Because of their customer relationships, they’re one of your best sources of marketing intelligence. They know why they keep coming back to your business. They know what they’d love to see in your business, and what frustrates them. Their strong relationships let you stay ahead of potential problems and lost business.

7. The Networker

Your Community Manager and Networker may be the same person. Both archetypes require a similar skill set of sociability and empathy. The Networker is more focused on business development.

They and the Community Manager will work together with you to define the brand voice for your company. The Community Manager also shares the pain points and priorities of your customer base. The Networker uses this information to guide his outreach to new prospects. They also rely on the Community Manager and IT Geek to maintain an effective digital presence.

Networkers are active in the community and participate in relevant business organizations/ social events. They and the Leader are the most publicly visible members of the company.

Do you recognize each of these archetypes on your small business team? If not, you have some hiring to do. Each archetype provides a crucial contribution to the healthy functioning of the company. If you’re missing any of them, you’re short-changing your business.

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