10 Types of People Who Will Help Your Business Succeed

You may be running the show, but having a 'lightning rod' and 'maestro' on your side is critical to your company's success.

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By Isaiah Hankel

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may be running the show, but the people on your team have just as much of an impact on your company's success as you do.

Smart entrepreneurs surround themselves with positive people, especially when business is bad. Positive people come in many forms, but their can-do, feel-good attitudes are universally contagious. A 20-year study published in 2008 shows that having just one happy friend increases your chances of becoming happy by 15 percent.

Related: 7 Essential Habits of Happier People

Wise entrepreneurs also find those who have strengths they lack and encourage them to spread their gifts.

If your business is in trouble, look around. Who's missing? Chances are, you're missing one of these 10 people.

1. The lightning rod.

Lightning rods attract attention. They're always at the center. These people are witty, charismatic and full of ideas.

At first glance, you might mistakenly label a lightning rod as arrogant or rude. In reality, these people are just creative. Their minds move quickly and they're often bored. If you fail to channel their energy, mischief will ensue.

In business, lightning rods add incredible value to any sales and marketing team. Don't worry about these people ruining your professional reputation. They are exactly what you need to keep your products and services fresh and exciting.

2. The golden goose.

Whereas the lightning rod attracts attention, the golden goose attracts money. These people have deep knowledge of how to increase your business's revenues and profits. They are the masterful CFOs, salespeople, and money-makers of all kinds that keep companies in the black.

If bean counting puts you to sleep, or if selling makes you feel sleazy, hire a golden goose. Your business cannot be successful without making and managing money properly.

Related: Are You Emotionally Intelligent? Here's How to Know for Sure.

3. The maestro.

Maestros are those rare, strategic people who can see the end from the beginning. They are visionaries who live rich internal lives and who can look at everything from a bird's eye view.

Modern-day maestros like Apple's Steve Jobs or Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin have changed the course of humanity with their long-term mindsets. If you're unable to plot out where you want your business to go, start surrounding yourself with as many maestros as possible and consult with them frequently.

4. The virtuoso.

If Steve Jobs was the maestro at Apple, then Steve Wozniak was the virtuoso.

Virtuosos are innovators with specialized knowledge. They are the scientists, engineers, and architects behind the world's most amazing inventions. These people do the most difficult thing in the world: physically create something from nothing.

No matter what you're trying to build, virtuosos will help you build it better and faster. They make up the brilliant R&D, programming, and design teams at the world's top companies. Without virtuosos, all business ideas would rot.

5. The wordsmith.

Wordsmiths are people who excel at wordplay. They are able to organize their thoughts into oral and written forms of communication to motivate, entertain and teach other people.

Wordsmiths include authors, editors, bloggers, public speakers, and communicators of all types. You might be tempted to take these people for granted, especially in today's world where content has become a commodity. But this is a mistake.

Whoever creates the most contagious content controls the conversation. From memes to mission statements to memos, communication is what keeps ideas, product, services on the top of people's minds and on the tip of their tongues.

Related: How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity (Infographic)

6. The superconnector.

Superconnectors are those people who have dipped into a vast array of diverse groups. They have a large capacity for interconnected knowledge and use it to bring others together toward shared goals.

When you get stuck in your business, it's the superconnector who will know the perfect person to help you get unstuck. They are constantly adding people to their giant mental rolodex because they know that your business's network is its net worth.

7. The gladiator.

Gladiators are entrepreneurs in the purest sense. They are those who can get beat down again and again and again and keep coming back for more. They are also intensely loyal.

Don't misunderstand the gladiators in your business. Their intensity and overconfidence are simply the reinforcements they need to stay strong while they battle outdated empires and bloated bureaucracies.

If you find yourself lacking initiative in any way, start surrounding yourself with as many gladiators as possible. These people know how to execute and will get a job done no matter how many obstacles get in their way.

Related: The Surprising Sleep Habits of the Rich and Famous

8. The bookworm.

Bookworms are structured and detail oriented. They love reading and research and value knowledge and systems above all else. Bookworms are the oil that keeps all organizations running smoothly.

Most entrepreneurs take bookworms for granted because bookworms thrive on tactical operations. Don't make this mistake. The difference between good and bad customer service, or good and bad employee conditions, often comes down to nothing more than the quality of the standard operating procedures that a bookworm created.

If details drive you mad, then you need to get more bookworms into your business. They will keep you organized and help you hit the tactical benchmarks you are probably overlooking.

9. The hacker.

The fastest way to save your business is to start hacking it.

Hackers are destroyers and creators. They deconstruct systems, remove what's unnecessary and then rebuild better systems. Hackers create paradigm shifts by testing and tweaking different parts of a process over and over again until every piece is optimized.

If you don't have the time to test the various parts of your business, start hiring some hackers. The amount of time and energy these people can save you is incredible.

10. The sage.

Every business needs a sage to survive. Sages are people who have spent a lot of time in business. They are the teachers, managers, and mentors who excel at bringing out the best in other people.

Sages use their experience to positively influence the fate or your business. They will help you avoid common mistakes and help you seize opportunities you wouldn't have seen on your own.

If you're an entrepreneur with few or no employees, find a sage and hire them as a mentor. If you're an entrepreneur with many employees, find a sage and hire them as a manager. Standing on the shoulders of a worthy sage is the most important thing you can do to help your business thrive.

Related: The Truth About What It Means to Be Successful

Isaiah Hankel

Founder and CEO, Cheeky Scientist

Isaiah Hankel is founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist; he helps people with Ph.D.s transition into meaningful, high-paying industry careers. He is also a STEM Ph.D. and a Fortune 500 consultant.


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