Build Team

How to Build Your First Business Team

by Alex Papa on September 30, 2010 · 12 comments

When you think of an entrepreneurial success story, you think of one person.

In reality, almost every successful entrepreneur has a team behind them. The entrepreneur gets all the credit because they pulled the team together – similar to how coaches get credit for championships.

If you want to build a business, it’ll be impossible to do by yourself. Today, Alex Papa from is going to give you four tips for building your first team.

Get to Know Yourself

In order to create a winning team you must have a clear understanding of your skills. You must have a good knowledge of what you lack and therefore need. Your team of business advisors should be there to provide the expertise you don’t have.

They should not be made of people who think exactly the same way as you do. You reap the rewards of differing opinions when you draw together a strong and effective team.

Build a Core Team

“You also have to understand that you can’t do it all by yourself. Business is a team project. It may seem like eMillions was just me, but I actually had a transcriptionist, a mentor, a graphic designer, and a copywriter.”
Stanley Tang

A team provides a pool of diverse talents that’s essential to the development of your business. Ideally, your first team should include experts in business management, finance, marketing and law.

For example, a small catering business will need to solidify business relations with an attorney who specializes in the food business, an accountant who knows all about your tax obligations, and an advertising expert who will know how to promote your business in the best possible light.

Establish Your Team Early

No matter what type of business you have, you’ll want to establish your team well in advance of your first deal, sale or agreement with a client. Trying to gather a team in the midst of a deal will lead to choosing poor team members. You may choose an expert who is too expensive, or choose an individual whose personality does not “mesh” with the spirit of your company.

If you run a small car dealership and fail to establish accords with a bank manager, you will be unable to provide fair and honest loan agreements to your customers. You’ll lose customers and those customers will tell their friends not to do business with you.

Attend Local Networking Events

Choosing team members takes time but it doesn’t always take money.

An excellent, free resource is other business people who’ve traveled the same path. Every city has a club, a business association or similar group of community business-people. This is a goldmine for young entrepreneurs who are willing to take advice.

The best part, mentors in your community understand the local issues. They are already connected to the “big” players in your area and many of them love giving free advice and talking over a cup of coffee.

Your business team is there to help you grow and succeed in business. Trying to go it alone is prideful and that leads to failure. Your team is your business, build it wisely.

Photo by: UGArdener


1 Jonathan Romig October 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Hey Tart, just wanted to drop by and say how awesome that video was of you on TV (9 news?). Can’t wait until it’s on your website.

2 Nick Tart October 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Yeah, isn’t Gregg Moss (9news) great?! It’ll be on in due time.

3 Zack Shapiro October 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I really enjoyed this post, Alex.

It’s important to note that you can offer equity in your company rather than paying in the beginning. It’s a great way to make people a part of the company and make them feel like a part of the company before you’ve got money to pay them. It’s not a scheme, just a first incentive.

Zack Shapiro

4 Nick Tart October 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Zack, how do you recommend offering and distributing equity in a startup?

5 Alex Papa October 11, 2010 at 7:15 am

That is a great – great – idea! Offering equity in a new start up to experienced entrepreneurs or venture capitalists is a good way to raise capital. You offer shares into your business and they offer money that can cover start-up costs, such as advertising and marketing or even production costs. The greatest benefit also is that you get full time mentors who have a vested interest in your business and will offer you advice to the best of their ability.
The downside of giving equity is twofold:
1. Many “angel investors” will want to become over-50% share holders. This will be the case especially if you do not prove that you can manage the business effectively when you present your proposal to them. They will not want to give their money, unless they manage your business.
2. Most of these “deals” take a long time to materialize. From the time you make your initial proposal to equity buyers till the time they actually become partners in your business can take months or even more than a year. They will want to carry out their own searches in to your business and confirm that the numbers you presented were accurate and once that is done they will want to have formal contract agreements made that will legally bind you into partnership with them.
It does pay off to have such partnerships, especially if the “partner” has a high profile and huge contacts in the industry. There is potential for higher profit for you – even if you have to give up 51% of your business.
You made a great point, which I missed in my post. Thank you.

6 Matthew Papaconstantinou January 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

Hi Alex,

As you explain, I find it important that my team is comprised of people who have a different thinking than mine; people with different background who can bring new ideas, express a different opinion, and can view the same goal from a different angle. I have benefited many times from members of my team who suggested something I had never thought of and turned out to be a great thing.

Also, I relate to what you say about mingling with other professionals in your local community and get advice from mentors.

7 steven papas March 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

My congrats alex! great tips. I am 100% with the local networking. It’s crucial for the entrepreneur to show himself among existing and established businessmen of his area and get connected with them. He might also find prospective partners or even a mentor, in local clubs and associations.

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