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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a serial entrepreneur, business owner and consultant for the last 30 years, I know enough of what I don’t know to get things right in my endeavors. If I look back on the projects and businesses in my life, there’s one thing that cannot be undervalued, and that is how critically important it is to have a strong team engrained in everything you do.
One of my first ventures was as the founder and CEO of BellaVita, a global nutritional products company, where I led for eight years before selling to a large brand. In the first year, I was carrying a heavy load trying to build an international company with our primary base of business in Asia. I was traveling intensely, managing all aspects of the business and trying to maintain family life and a significant responsibility in my community. At one point, I couldn’t sustain the 16 to 18-hour days 6 days a week any longer. Fortunately, we were able to start adding key people domestically and globally. Within a short period of time, leveraging that man power and skill had a huge impact on our business immediately.
Since then, I’ve done consulting, speaking and training, and it has been in the recent years as I embarked on my latest project that I’ve had the chance to be reminded of advantages of having a well-versed, diverse team to support.
Hardly have I experienced the strength in numbers that I have right now as developer of Palazzo Ricci, a private residence club project in Abruzzo, Italy that I am developing with a partner and team around the world. I do not come from a traditional real estate background, but I have a passion for renovation and for Italy and knew that if I surrounded myself with the right people, we could make this work, together. So far, it’s been a case study in remote work, as our partners, leaders, team members and vendors are working remotely and globally across the U.S., U.K., Italy, Sweden, Asia and the Middle East.
The right team transcends industry, no matter the business, and a core group will be necessary for three reasons: collaboration, consensus and ownership. It’s imperative to include your expert onboarding in phase one of your business, not only to lay the foundation and develop strength in culture, but to also divide and conquer in the most efficient way to impact your bottom line.
Collaboration: bringing something to the table
Do a personal assessment. Know your strengths and weaknesses in business and admit them.
Recognize where you bring value, and where someone else should be tapped. And be ready to find people who can fill in the holes. Finding good people takes time, and especially if you’re in the entrepreneurial space, your process is a marathon, not a sprint.
Turnover is expensive — better to take the time to get the right person to collaborate with your team than to rush to hire a title.
Some entrepreneurs are more visionary. They have the ideas but not necessarily the technical experience or education to execute on it. Having outside talent to collaborate are where ideas turn into businesses and reality.
Consensus: perspectives matter
Surrounding yourself with the right people means more than hiring someone “good” at their job. It means having someone with the right energy and outlook, one that complements the overall business vision and challenges it to be the best it can. I have always felt that attitude is far more important than aptitude. People can learn new skills and acquire expertise. However, passion, connection and commitment to the purpose of your organization is vital and very difficult to find.
At Palazzo Ricci, I’m a believer in hearing and understanding opinions. There have been times when I differ but go with the gut of the group, because I trust my team. Even in those occasions of disagreement, I believe collaboration and respecting the expertise and local knowledge of our team on the ground in Italy always provides the best path in the end.
Representation speaks volumes — especially as entrepreneurs and growing businesses have the opportunity to work with people anywhere, we should be creating seats at the table for diverse team members and perspectives.
Ownership: mental investment leads to growth
It’s not a secret or hidden gem of advice — if you care, you work harder. And as an entrepreneur and leader, building a team that is bought into the business will have countless returns.