I used to be proud of the fact that I worked all of the time.
I loved to tell people I worked 16 hours a day, that I worked on bar 7 days a week, that I didn’t take vacation, that I led by example in doing every job in the shop.
As a result, I wasted years that I could have spent growing my business.
Worse yet, ten years in I got bored and tired. In response, I ruined my finances, my relationships, and my health.
I learned a lot in the recovery phase (and I’m fortunate to have had the chance to recover).
One of the biggest things was learning who I needed on my team.
Here’s the important ones.
1. The accountant
I was smart enough to hire an accountant from the start. But he wasn’t the right one to push me and help me grow.
And in my most critical hour, he disappeared for a year. As a result, my small mistakes became large mistakes that took a long time to rectify.
My current accountant I sought out looking for 3 things:
He loved being an accountant, he was willing to help me recover and then grow faster to make up for lost time, he was willing to be on my board as an advisor (above and beyond bookkeeping, taxes, etc.)
2. The mentor
I have several. 1 from the coffee industry, 1 from a related industry who is local and a few steps ahead of me in business, and 1 who is in a non-related (seemingly) industry that has experienced the kind of success I want.
You might not need 3, but I guarantee that having even 1 solid mentor that you are open with and willing to listen to will help you 10x your business and personal growth.
3. The real estate guru
You might not (and may not ever) own your building. I don’t. I’d like to.
But I don’t. Either way, understanding how real estate intersects with business is important. It will also give you an assistant when you’re looking at expanding, negotiating leases, and even buying your own dwelling place.
I started a couple of these relationships well before I was looking for additional locations. Now it’s paying off because I know who I want to work with and am comfortable asking questions I didn’t even know to ask a few years ago.
For me the key was finding someone willing to play long game since I wasn’t ready to jump in just yet.
4. The board
Ideally, the first 3 people in this list are also on your board along with 1-2 other folks who have experience you can learn from.
Maybe it’s a banker or your extroverted friend in sales. Maybe it’s a pastor or lawyer or local business advocate. Maybe it’s an older business owner in your town who wants to pass down knowledge.
But having a board and using them to bounce ideas off of and ask advice of will help your business grow faster.
And you’ll have some accountability to your vision.
I have found that if you ask, people love to share knowledge.
And if the commitment isn’t huge, they’ll fit it into their busy schedule.
5. The HR person
This might not be a “position” you hire. But you as the owner are the worst person (seriously, I promise) to also handle HR issues.
If you don’t have it as someone’s job title, then take a look at your staff and identify someone who is made for this role.
I bet they have already established themselves as such by supporting, encouraging, and challenging other team members. And the staff is probably already going to them with issues they’re scared to talk to you about.
So find them, make your intentions clear, and give them some kind of raise as a thanks for the work.
For me this started with identifying that person and giving them the freedom to build that into their role.
A year later we announced them as an actual HR position.
Both cases worked wonders for my staff. And when we realized how important it was, we made it a position.
6. The Cheerleader(s)
You need one.
Your staff needs one.
It may or may not be the same person.
But encourage, support, and appreciate those people and keep them around.
Find out what you can do to help them keep being that person for you and your team.
And while we’re at it, you should always be looking for:
7. Great customers with other skill sets
Need a lawyer, find out who’s buying coffee from you that practices law.
Even better if they’re early in their career and will do a partial coffee trade to get experience at something.
Bankers, Investors, Accountants, Plumbers, Doctors, Product Vendors, Electricians, Car Dealers, Club Promoters, Bartenders, Pastors, and a lot more.
When you need someone, you already know who to ask. And if they’re not the right person, they know their industry.
I trade with my chiropractor, electrician, marketing dude, floor waxing crew, and a lot more.
I get excellent service at restaurants, reasonable bar tabs, and VIP club access because I take good care of these folks and they return the favor.
There’s many other essential people, but these are my musts.
If you build these relationships and treat them well, you will create for yourself a culture of like minded successful people who all build each other and each others’ brands.
Doesn’t sound too shabby, does it?