Guest post by Vanessa Rhinesmith
How often do we stop to think about the importance of human capital? Are you looking at small business resources as a means to an end, a way to alleviate your own workload, or something much more than that? Resource management for new entrepreneurs is an important part of the business creation process.
Identifying and allocating small business resources are important entrepreneurial exercises. Setting up a social ecosystem is critical to success – not too mention does wonders for your sanity!
People are important in any circumstance, even more so when it comes to an entrepreneurial venture. Entrepreneurship can be an exciting but lonely road. It's no surprise that startups have a higher success rate when there is more than one person involved. Partnership can be incredibly valuable.
You. Before determining how other people play a part, think about the answers to the following questions – and how they fit into your entrepreneurial plan:
- What’s your work style? How do you typically work best (solo or in a team)?
- In what type of culture do you thrive? What type of culture will you create?
- What skills do you value? Better yet, what skills do you need to be successful?
- What type of people, abilities and/or skills do you need – or simply want?
We can't always do it all, especially if we have families to cultivate in addition to growing our small business resources. However, what we can do is surround ourselves with a wonderful group of talented individuals. As entrepreneurs, we need people who will enable us, challenge us and support us. Small business resources come in all shapes and sizes serving a variety of purposes ranging from a formal Board of Directors to something more informal, like interns. The resources you will need depend on your business, goals and financial ability.
Note that the mix of small business resources you may need in the beginning will change over the lifetime of your venture. Think in terms of short- and long-term resource management.
Striving for Success. Though a Board of Directors may sound formal, it can be incredibly valuable to entrepreneurs. It can be as formal or informal as you like. Think about what type of professional network and insight would benefit your business.
They can challenge you, keep you accountable, push you and ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of your business. People selected should have aligned experiences and a commitment to your project.
Setting Boundaries. When establishing who your resources will be, it's important to identify personal/professional boundaries. Where do your friends, or even family, fit?
Good question, right? They fit in all areas of need or perhaps not at all. That decision is really up to you, and it may not be an easy one to make. A very good friend of mine, and entrepreneur, decided that she would prefer not to have friends work for her. She felt that it could be potentially disruptive or harmful to those relationships. Instead she requested that we serve as collaborators, sounding boards and cheerleaders. It was important for her to keep those relationships somewhat separate. I admire her for that.
Identifying Compensation. We can't talk resources without some talk about compensation. Compensation can come in many forms, including monetary payment, equity, college credit or other goods and services.
Be careful about giving out equity too frequently. It's precious cargo, and great thought should go into who qualities for the high-level of compensation associated with equity options and distribution.
As many entrepreneurs know, interns can be a great resource. They tend to be eager and readily available – and some would argue, low cost. Please be sure that these are not one-way relationships: offer something valuable in return. That reward can take the shape of class credit, an hourly rate or a lump sum. A thoughtful internship review can be a wonderful reward and should be given to interns who meet or exceed expectation.
Last, but certainly not least, don't forget your "home team." Small business resources that support your family and personal life are just as important as the entrepreneurial ones. If everything is happy at home and settled with the people you care for, then you'll be better able to focus on the growth of your venture – and they'll be better able to better support you.
What resources have been most valuable to you as an entrepreneur? Are there things you would have done differently when identifying those resources? What questions and/or recommendations do you have for other entrepreneurial women?
Photo by Kratzy via Flickr
Vanessa Rhinesmith is a freelance communications and social strategist who blogs about her professional and personal journey at Left Behind Bottle Caps. She is also a new mom to a three-month-old baby girl.