Solid Team photo from ShutterstockHow to create your own personal brand dream team and accelerate your professional growth.

Whether you’re a business professional or a business owner, having a solid team is imperative to building a strong brand. If there is one thing I would go back and tell my younger self, it is that constructing  a solid team accelerates professional growth. Rugged individualism is not efficient in business.

If you are growing a business or want to move up the corporate ladder, consider the following types of team members:

Unpaid mentors

Mentors are those people who have typically already walked the path that you are now starting. They are able to provide insight and advice that can save time, money and frustration. The most important factor to consider when selecting a mentor is the person’s track record in your field. All business relationships should be mutually beneficial. Unpaid mentors are usually “compensated” through the positive experience of watching a mentee put their counsel to use to gain results, and then repeat the cycle with his/her own mentee.

Mastermind group

Mastermind groups have been around since the beginning of time. These are groups of individuals who meet on a regular basis to provide support and insight to fellow members. In an effective group, each member has an opportunity to seek and offer aid to fellow members. You may join or start a group in your industry, or made up of individuals from varying industries, allowing for the greatest variety of resources and information for the group.

Trade members

Trade members are those professionals or business owners who you have an agreement to trade goods/services for similarly priced goods/services. For instance, if you are an attorney opening a new practice, you may partner with a graphic designer for your marketing needs. In return for his/her services, you may offer your own legal services. If you own a popular blog, you may have writers as trade partners.

Paid members

Paid team members include your employees, contractors, coaches, and anyone else you pay to create/strengthen your professional brand. This could include a publicist, resume writer, or even stylist.

Each type of team member has its own benefits and drawbacks. An unpaid mentor can shave years off of a professional’s learning curve, but may be difficult to schedule time with since meetings may not be a top priority for the mentor. Mastermind groups can provide excellent feedback, but the quality of one’s experience will rest squarely on the quality and commitment of each group member. Trade members are helpful when finances for services are limited, but can be stressful when each party does not fully commit to adding the same value. Lastly, paid members are typically the easiest to work with due to the nature of the agreement, however, this group is also typically the most expensive.

Do you have a team in place to help you build your brand? If so, which of the above team members do you use?