Business & Investing Are Team Sports: Who’s on Your Team?
In school, if you ask for help it’s considered cheating—especially at test time. In fact, when I was in high school, I looked at my poor dad’s teacher’s manual and it defined cheating as “giving aid to someone in need.” To me, that sounded like being a human being.
When I was still in high school, my rich dad would include his son and me in on his Saturday morning meetings with his team. The first thing I noticed was that my rich dad did not have to be the smartest person on his team. In fact, he may have been the least-educated person on his team. Surrounding him were his attorneys, accountants, bankers, managers, real estate broker, and stockbrokers.
Rather than tell people what to do, he would discuss problems he was facing and allow his advisors to offer suggestions on how to solve those problems.
At home, I would see my poor dad, sitting with a stack of bills, struggling to figure out how he was going to pay them all.
What I am saying is that my rich dad solved his financial problems by asking for help from people smarter than he was. My rich dad was cooperative.
Remember, the opposite of cheating is cooperation. And cooperation means you don’t have to be the smartest person to be rich. It’s better to have a smart team.
The Power of a Smart Team
According to many social scientists, the most important thing in life is a person’s social and professional network. In other words, the people around you, your team, and the people you work with. If you have poor people around you, you will probably be poor. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Those on the right side of the CASHFLOW® Quadrant know that if they want to be rich and successful, a team of people smarter than them is crucial.
Employees and self-employed people often say of the people who own their company, “I’m so much smarter than them. Why do they get all the money?” That, however, is by design. In fact, the E and S inability to really embrace surrounding themselves with people smarter than them is the reason why they could never succeed as a business owner or investor.
Employees, for instance, often fear those who are smarter or better than them because it means they won’t get the promotion or the raise. They might not get the marquee project. There is often a lot of toxicity on teams that stem from fear employees have about their job security.
Self-employed people are often very bright and capable. They even have an entrepreneurial bent to them. But they don’t like teams. They want to be the smartest person in the room, and they often are, which is why companies hire them as consultants. But because they don’t play well with others, they have to do all the work. They don’t own a business. They own a job.
The Most Important Thing
When an entrepreneur “builds a business,” what they build is a B-I Triangle—a system of systems. My rich dad called these eight components the 8 Integrities of a Business.
Integrities of a Business.
If the entrepreneur cannot put these 8 integrities together, the business fails or suffers financially. And if any of these components are weak or dysfunctional, the business is likely to struggle or fail. That’s how important the components of the B-I Triangle are.
One reason why most entrepreneurs fail, even those with genuine, million-dollar ideas, is because all they have is top of the triangle. Most are missing one or more of the other integrities. Notice that the Product, or the “great idea,” is the least important part of the B-I Triangle.
To be a successful entrepreneur, the entrepreneur must think like a generalist, looking at all 8 integrities, the big picture, the whole business, not just their specialty.
You need to have experts that are on your side that you can turn to for advice.
Key players for your team include an attorney, a CPA to help with accounting and taxes, an objective and well-vetted broker, various experts in your chosen investment and business areas, mentors, and coaches. Additionally, it never hurts to have athletic trainers, life coaches, and a strong network of friends and family who keep you sane.
Who’s on My Team
Kim and I call our team, our Advisors. They are real entrepreneurs who are in the trenches. They are seasoned and successful and passionate about teaching they’ve learned.
In the real world of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneur that makes the most mistakes and learns from their mistakes win. For example, Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times before inventing the electric light bulb. Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before the Ford Motor Company succeeded. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, Apple before he came back and rescued it from bankruptcy.
I mention the trials and tribulations of these giant entrepreneurs because this is what real entrepreneurs go through. They can be the lessons that determine the future of a business—if we look for the lesson in every mistake or failure.
The key is to choose wisely. Be picky. Don’t settle for people who you’re not sure if they play on your team or for other teams. I’ve learned this the hard way with past business partners, so I’m speaking from experience on this one. If you don’t choose the right people to be on your team, it can cost you a lot, if not in money then in time and emotional and spiritual energy. A bad team member is one of the most life-draining and dangerous things you can have.
My most trusted Advisors are:
- Tom Wheelwright is a CPA and my advisor on taxes.
- Ken McElroy is my advisor on debt.
- Blair Singer, who has been my friend and advisor since 1981, is my go-to guy for sales.
- Andy Tanner is my advisor on paper assets and the stock market.
- Garrett Sutton is my advisor on legal matters.
- Lisa and Josh Lannon are my experts on social capitalism.
And, of course, there’s Kim… Her passion is to teach women. She speaks with compassion and understanding most men do not have.
The primary reason I share my Advisors with you is so you can gain insights into how to tell good advisors from bad advisors.
Remember this final bit of advice: The opposite of stupid is smart. The best way to get smart is to be humble enough to admit that you do not know everything. If you have an advisor who knows everything, find a new advisor. It is difficult to get smarter if you already know all the answers.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily