Does Your Business Contain the Three Essential Success Roles?

I’m currently reading Chip Conley’s book, The Rebel Rules: Daring to Be Yourself in Business. Despite its name, the book doles out fairly standard business advice, except for a handful of tiny tidbits of sheer brilliance. One is the list of items that investors are looking for when considering providing startup money to new businesses (on page 81).

Chip says your management team should consist of a “brain trust that includes a passionate visionary, a “get-your-hands-dirty” operator, and a responsible, finance-minded executive.”

Even if you’re never going to seek venture capital money to help to fund your business, this tidbit of advice makes a great strategy question to consider for your business, especially if you are an entrepreneur. How are all three roles being served in your company?

Passionate Visionary

The passionate visionary is a creative idea person. She has the technical knowledge that supports the service or product that will be created and offered. She sees the market need and just how to sell and position the product so that clients or consumers will want the offering.

The visionary often has more ideas than budget. The finance role can help the visionary evaluate the profitability of their idea and prioritize the projects. The operator can help to execute the visionary’s ideas.

The visionary provides strategic direction for the company and keeps the market offerings fresh.

If your business is missing a visionary, then you might find yourself getting stagnant with your service offerings and falling behind the marketplace. You might also struggle to keep your practice full as often (but not always), the sales function could fall to the visionary. The fix is to develop a sales and marketing team and/or a research and development team that can serve these functions.

“Get-your-hands-dirty” Operator

The operator is an executor. She gets things done. She can find and hire the right team. She is a systems builder who can develop the systems, job descriptions, procedures, and processes that makes the company unique.

The operator takes the visionary’s ideas and makes them happen. She needs the visionary’s ideas because she would rather take someone else’s ideas and work with them than create her own. She also needs the support of the finance executive to stay on budget and to focus on one project at a time or avoid hiring too many people.

A business without a good operator never gets the product to market and may also constantly be short of team members.

Responsible, Finance-minded Executive

The finance expert helps to make the dollars work for the company. She can tell us how much we need to sell and how much we can spend. She can also provide capital sources for the company via investors or loans.

The finance executive loves numbers and can help to make sure the company’s operations are profitable. She’ll work closely with the operator to make sure that the right number of people are hired at the right salary levels. She’ll work with the visionary to plan and budget for new sources of revenue and new product lines.

Without a finance executive, a company often spends more than they bring in and may not have a viable profit plan. They may also run out of cash which can cause problems with creditors and investors.

Your Brain Trust Trinity

As you were reading, which role jumped out at you that might need shoring up in your business? You might be strong in one area and need to outsource another while keeping a strategic eye on things overall.

You might also be great at performing these roles for your clients, but do a lousy job on your own business. Enough said there.

Take a look at each of these roles and objectively assess your business. How are all three roles being served in your company? Which ones need more development in order for your business to grow?

Getting clear on your company’s roles can very well take you to the next level of success.