Teamwork is an essential part of any business. Sure, you may be a solo entrepreneur. But you’re likely working with clients and/or customers, other business owners, web designers, copywriters, event coordinators, etc. Teamwork and understanding how to work effectively and efficiently is important. Not only will it eliminate the headaches of certain people missing some piece of information or a project deadline getting missed because everyone thought someone else was handling it but working in sync with others also allows for a more fun work environment (and who doesn’t want that!).
I just wanted to take a moment to share a few of the things I have learned from working in teams – whether on a group project, joining a client’s team, or collaborating with someone on a specific project.
When you begin working as a team, set expectations + preferences at the start.
Each team and person will have their own specific ways that they have previously worked and will have preferences regarding communication. If you outline this at the beginning of working with someone, it’ll help reduce some of the headaches later down the line.
One thing I have recently added to my business is a new client questionnaire. Among a variety of questions, I ask about their communication preferences and when they are normally working on their business. This helps me to better understand the best way to communicate with them and when they are likely to be working. For several of my clients, we have scheduled weekly video chats to discuss what has happened over the past week and what is upcoming. For some, they like to communicate strictly via email.
I would recommend asking similar questions when starting to work with someone. You may have the assumption that you’ll be communicating solely via email, but the person you’re working with may do better expressing their ideas when they can verbally chat it out. Understanding this from the beginning can help everyone to understand how to best work with everyone else.
Know strengths + weaknesses.
We all have them. Some people are better structured work while some people are more creative. One is not better than the other. When you start working with someone or with a new team, it’s important to know what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are. This can help you decide who does what task so that you are maximizing everyone’s strengths.
It’s important to note here, that some people may have a strength that could be beneficial for a given task but they may not have the time to devote to that task. It’s important to have an estimate for how long something will take. Then everyone can make sure that they are not signing up for something that they don’t currently have the energy or resources to take on.
Have a clear ownership of tasks.
For any given project, it’s beneficial to have a point person. This person isn’t necessarily in control of the creative direction of a project or the one in charge of delegating (although it definitely could be!). But having a point person for a project can help make sure everything is on schedule, that each person is assigned a task, and nothing is getting missed. As part of this, it’s important for everyone to know who has ownership over a given task. This helps everyone to know where to go to discuss a specific task and it also helps to ensure nothing gets missed.
Use programs + software that help eliminate communication confusion.
There are lots of client management, time organization, and project management software options out there. Some of these may work better in some situations and with some people than others. I have certain programs and pieces of software that I have found helpful with communicating with some of my clients and managing their projects. For example, I’m a huge fan of Slack. For some of my clients where I am working with them closely on a daily basis and we have lots of tasks going on at once, the ease of communication (and not having things get lost in email chains) is amazing! Seriously.
It’s important to look into options that will help you run your business better and keep yourself organized. There are often ways to integrate two different programs to help them run even smoother. Like the Slack powerup with Trello or adding Google Drive files directly into Slack. Two of my favorite integrations.
Also note: there may be plenty of people that speak high praises of certain programs and how it has worked wonders for them, but it may not work well for you. And that’s ok! Find the programs and software that works well for you. If you find something more frustrating or it makes communicating harder, then it’s not worth it.