Life in the military is all about teams. Survival in a combat situation depends on others and on that interdependence. One of the big changes that can throw off returning veterans is the sudden loss of that team spirit and support system. When you go down the road of starting a new business, this just gets compounded. It’s a lonely road for anyone.
Obviously, some businesses involve many people and many opportunities to build a team culture. However, if you are starting a sole proprietorship or an LLC that is just you, or you and a spouse, you can still get support and build a team to leverage your business success.
Peter Drucker was one of the most respected leadership and management thinkers of our time. He said that the goal of working together was to “make people’s strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” What a great goal for team building! If you are working solo, you can leverage the power of teams by getting involved with others who are doing the same thing, mentors who have gone before you, and friends and family who have certain skills or talents that you may not have.
If your business is local you can plug into resources like the Chamber of Commerce. Many of the other business owners in your area have ideas and support to offer, even though they are not a part of your business. You may find general help from people who run different types of businesses but even those who are your competition may be a source of comradery.
If you run your business online there are thousands of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that can keep you in touch with others who are doing something similar. These people can be great for brainstorming and bouncing ideas. They may have strengths and knowledge that make your areas of weakness a non-issue. Keep in mind, though, some are armchair quarterbacks and offer advice that is untested.
Finally, don’t forget to incorporate your friends and family into your team. Maybe you have a brother-in-law who does accounting. When the times comes to make those decisions, enlist his help in figuring it out. He may not be offering to work for free but he can point you in the right direction. Have a friend who is artistically inclined? He or she just might be the source of inspiration for your new logo. The simple act of getting together for coffee with a few friends who have diverse backgrounds and education can be a powerful tool for growing your business and maintaining your sanity.
And of course, Veteran Business Success is a great place to get in touch with people on the same road as you and help one another work like a team, even when you are running a business on your own.