I know some investors who are “solo investors” – who somehow manage to do it all themselves – but I couldn’t invest without a team. I’ve already got a bunch of other commitments, plus I sure like the financial and time freedom I get from investing with a team, so a team is an essential part of investing for me. Along the way I’ve learned through trial and error (mostly my error) how to best find, develop, and work with a team.
It doesn’t matter what your team consists of (probably real estate agents, bird dogs, contractors, marketers, private lenders, accountants and attorneys, and so on), here are four tips that will benefit any investor who wants to work with a team:
Team tip #1: Establish win/win relationships
Everyone on your team is motivated by something but not always the same things you’re motivated by. Make sure your team knows their importance to the team and feels valued and rewarded appropriately. (By comparison, I’ve seen many investors try to pay their team as little as possible to maximize their own profit… with predictable results: a disloyal, disgruntled team that only does the bare minimum of work). Find a great team, figure out what they consider a “win” in work and life, and help them achieve it. I once heard someone say that if you have ten realtors working for you, you have no realtors working for you.
Team tip #2: Make sure you enjoy working with good people
Nothing can suck all the fun out of investing like a team member who you don’t want to work with. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone you work with but you should at least enjoy connecting with your team and feel confident and energized working with them. Their enthusiasm and “buy-in” should motivate you. Never try to fill a gap in your team with just any warm body… instead, find the right person who you connect with.
Team tip #3: Enthusiasm trumps expertise
I prefer enthusiastic newbies to experienced team members. People can learn skills (plus, if you help them learn those skills, they’ll be more loyal team members and view your relationships as even more of a win). Enthusiasm brings a level of energy to every project and that helps keep the momentum going. (Of course there are exceptions: You will still need certified people in some positions on your team, so I’m not suggesting that you fill your team with totally unqualified people; rather, you’ll probably get more creative deals with an eager newbie than someone who has been around for decades and doesn’t really need your business).
Team Tip #4: Deal with team issues quickly
Whether something really great happens or something really disastrous happens, deal with it immediately. Don’t procrastinate on team issues. When your team succeeds in a big way, thank them right away and reward them generously. They’ll want to help you again. Likewise, when someone isn’t pulling their weight and living up to expectations, address the issue immediately. Letting problems fester too long will be like poison to your entire team.