Cops and Best Friends: How an Influence Team Can Strengthen Your Brand

Contributed by Justin Raddatz, Business Development Manager
My daughter is turning 1 at the end of this month, and the quickly approaching milestone has me reflecting on what type of person I hope she’ll become – and the types of people I want involved in her life to help her reach her greatest potential.  She’ll need to make dozens of decisions every day of her life, and will receive an average of 20,000 messages each day from marketers, friends, family, etc, all claiming to have the best solution for her.  To weed through the bad and find the virtuous we need to build a group of trusted helpers – an Influence Team – around her.

My daughter, along with my wife and I, authorities, mentors, and friends will all have a stake in her development – but in different degrees.  Some should have lots of control over her decisions, and some should simply provide advice.  Some will have minute-to-minute involvement with her, and some will simply experience the highlights.


For example, my wife and I should retain a high level of control over her decisions, yet her mentors should simply provide advice as data points to consider in a decision.  And her friends will be involved in her life daily, while the authorities are [hopefully] just occasional inclusions.  Together, though, this well-constructed team will produce a life for her substantially more prosperous than one created without an Influence Team.


What does this have to do with growing a natural food brand?  Entrepreneurs also need a well-crafted support system around them to reach their goals.  And, to many entrepreneurs, their business is their baby!


Every day, ‘partners’ from all over the industry offer entrepreneurs like you with their solution to your problem.  “Your distribution strategy is all wrong, and only my firm can fix it for you.”  “You have to use our investment dollars, because they’re the smartest way to fund your growth.”  “Use our machinery and you’ll have the best product on the market.”  How does an entrepreneur navigate through all of these decisions?  With an Influence Team.


A Board of Directors (this is often just the owners of the business, including you) will provide a very high level of control over major decisions of your business, but should not be involved in daily operating decisions – that is your job as the entrepreneur.  A board of advisers will serve you with a great deal of wisdom and advice for your brand, but should not have control over key decisions or be involved in the daily operating decisions.  Your key contacts such as managers, employees, and trusted vendors, suppliers, etc., should be involved in daily operating functions, but should serve to provide advice, support, and execution – the final decision is yours as the entrepreneur.



Find some time in the next few weeks to consider what your Influence Team looks like.  Are there any gaps?  Are any boundaries being crossed, such as advisers making major business decisions for you?  Then, build your team to provide expertise in areas where you have the least experience, knowledge, or influence.  Good luck to you and your brand!

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