As any entrepreneur will tell you, you’re only as strong as your team; and when it comes to small business, it certainly takes a village. Atlanta small business is booming; there are 289,239 business establishments, and 98.8% of those are considered small (fewer than 500 employees). Not to mention 28 million small businesses nationwide. With over 50% of the working population employed by a small business, you can bet there are some go-to ways to build a team. We’ve had our fair amount of trial and error when it comes to team building, but today, we’re sharing our top four ways to build the best small business team you can.
Become a part of the team.
When you’re building the best small business team, go out of your way to make your new hires feel welcomed. Consider incorporating team building exercises that introduce newbies to the rest of the staff. No – we are not suggesting that you sit in a circle and share “break the ice” Q&A’s. This could be as simple as a get-to-know-you happy hour or as complex as an off-site team building event. Some companies even incorporate a mentorship program that pairs new hires with veteran employees. Not only will your new hire have an immediate friend, they’ll have someone to teach them the ins-and-outs of your company. Plus, the veteran can show them the ropes and make them feel welcomed all at the same time. A win-win for everyone. The benefit of early employees is that they have an amazing opportunity to help set the direction and tone of the business. Take advantage of it.
Do whatever you can to clarify roles among your team. Not only will clarification help you manage the team, but it will help your team members know exactly what their responsibilities are. Use Slack to communicate internally and encourage new employees to look through channels and conversations the team is already having. This will help them get a very quick feel for how your company operates, what everyone’s working on, and how you interact. Be sure your new hire understands the role he’ll play on the team, too. If an employee doesn’t understand his role, it might lead to him avoiding tasks or flat out not doing them. Instead, make job descriptions clear from the get-go. And if you notice things going awry, have honest conversation about your expectations as well as your employee’s. You never know when miscommunication is the center of the problem and most often, it is. A simple conversation could turn it all around. It’s really all about transparency and letting them know how excited you are to have them as a member of the team. Because the reality is, you are!
Remember there’s a reason that you hired the team you did, and usually, it’s because each member brings a different skill set to the table. Diversity is probably the most powerful competitive advantage that small businesses have. Small business are more nimble than larger companies, so use it to your advantage and seek opportunities to generate new ideas and think differently. One of the best tips we can give is to look for team members who bring new experiences from the ones you already have. These are the things that will encourage those lightbulb moments about your business.
This is where the words “thank you” go a long way. While no team member expects recognition, it’s always nice to hear that hard work is valued. Thank your team for working overtime to finish a product launch or even reward hard work with small events like a pizza lunch to celebrate accomplishments. One thing we do here? Karaoke. It’s one of the greatest bonding moments you’ll see within the company. Another one of our favorite events is our Summer Family Picnic. Everyone’s invited to come, bring all of their family members, and eat a bunch of food. It’s BBQ, beer, t-shirts, flip flops, and kids running around everywhere. Which for us, is exactly who our team is. Team events that are easy, low-key, and include family and friends are always what bonds our team together. Whatever you do, make sure your team knows they are valued and appreciated. Having strong morale is crucial in small business success, so even when things aren’t running so smoothly, be a pillar of positivity. Your team will notice.