There is one single thing that sets your business apart from other businesses. It’s not your business practices, your sales projections or even your mission. It’s the people you work with. You will not accomplish your business goals without the right kind of team, one that is skilled, motivated and committed as deeply as you are.

One of the most dangerous things you can do in business is to keep all the work to yourself. A business can’t grow if there’s only one person to do all the work. If you are juggling all of the hats and not allowing others to help, you’re more likely to keep your business from growing than you are to make good, sound business decisions. To grow intelligently and stay successful, you need the right people standing with you.

Here are some tried-and-true tips to help you find the right people and grow with grace, integrity, speed and preparation.


Every single person on your team matters in the long view. Consider this: It’s not just the team members that interface directly with your customers or clients that matter. Every team member is integral to your overall success. It will show if there is unrest, poorly fit or poorly trained employees, or not enough workers to handle the workload. Don’t discount anyone on your team. You are a well-oiled machine together.

Let’s talk for a second about company culture, because it’s essential to getting and keeping people together, and orienting your team around a common vision. Creating your company culture boils down to showing your vision, not selling it.

Remember this: Your employees and team members could get paid at any number of other jobs. Why should they stay with you? People who fit in your company culture and belong in your business working side by side with you will see your vision. You won’t have to sell it.

You will have to encourage the culture, and foster it. Return your team to that initial vision frequently, in various forms. Ask them what they need, what their vision for the future is, and then listen. Communicate your needs, your vision, and then let the two trajectories meet.


This is very important. Every time you spend money on your business, whether it’s on payroll or cleaning services, it’s an investment, not an “expense.” Take this to heart: If you are looking at a cost that makes your business work, you’re looking at an investment.

A clean, orderly workspace can elevate the spirits of workers, as well as make it easier and safer to operate well. A strong Internet connection is a no-brainer. A worker who is paid enough to not worry about life matters at work is better able to focus.

If you have costs that still feel like expenses after you think through the impact, cut them out of your budget. Invest in your company, and leave “expenses” to accountants.


Communication is key. You may have to work at it, but there will be an optimal communication style that works for you and your team. Don’t be afraid to experiment with software to help shore up processes. This takes some getting used to and is different for every team. But as long as you’re listening — and communicating — you’re on the right track.

On that note, make sure that you’re training your team members for empowerment. Give them the resources they need, as well as the empowerment to implement them the way they think is best. This is less rocket science and more trust — empowering your workers to find solutions is essential to long term success.

Finally, establish sane avenues of accountability. The best accountability avenues disregard blame, in that there isn’t a process of punishment where punishment isn’t necessary. When you empower your employees to own their responsibility, it’s in their court to succeed or fail. Nine times out of 10, these people will rise to the occasion.


Bonus: You won’t have to micromanage these people. They self-manage when accountability, responsibility and empowerment are working in concert.

Smartt Principles: Business Acumen for Great Results is a monthly column by Nicole Smartt, co-owner of Star Staffing (starhr.com), one of the fastest-growing companies in America, according to Inc. magazine. As a business and career advice expert, Smartt has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Post, Fox Business and Wall Street Journal.