When you're building and growing your business the single most important thing you can do is employ the best people. We call them A-players.A-players are among the best in their field of expertise, they have a genuine passion and interest for their discipline, they continually seek out the latest developments to improve their work, they feed off other members of the team, they add value to every part of your organisation (not just the small area their job spec outlines) and they don't really need to be managed, certainly not micro-managed.
Finding A-players is important for any business but for ours that importance is amplified. We're a creative marketing agency so creativity and innovation is how we make money. If we employ the wrong people you'll soon see that reflected in our work and our ability to win it.
We're also a small organisation. Large organisations may be able to string along a few stragglers amongst their big teams but we can't. If we add just one B or C-player to the fold they might effectively represent 10% of our workforce and you can be sure again that you'd see that reflected in our work and the motivation of the rest of the team.
The problem is A-players aren't easy to find. If, like us, your business is based somewhere outside of a major metropolis the task can be even harder. That's only true though if you're just looking, as we used to, on your doorstep.
Let me challenge your thinking on building a team:
Do they actually need to be sitting across from you in your office to be a part of your team?
Do they need to be in the same country as you to be a part of your team?
Could you use just some of the plethora of tools available to cheaply, easily and effectively communicate with a team member 6,000 miles away?
To work with the best you've got to look beyond the 20-mile radius from your office. We did that a couple of years ago and we've never looked back. It's been the best decision we've ever made.
We use tools such as Dropbox, Skype, Basecamp and Evernote to communicate simply and easily with team members in Glasgow, London, Chicago and Hong Kong. We also work flexibly to ensure we are all in contact at some point during the day regardless of time zone (in fact differences in time zone actually make it easier to offer around the clock support for our customers).
So next time you're placing an ad on your local online job board you might want to think about casting the net a bit wider... It could be the best decision you ever make.