We are a small team at the Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors, currently comprised of five full-time employees and 4 remote, flexible or part-time employees. Despite our size, we serve about 1,200 members. As a team, we are doing a lot better at accepting that bigger or more isn’t always better; better is better.
We are customer service people at heart, so we know there is a capacity to what we can do without sacrificing the quality of our service. It’s important to foster that culture in a small team; it’s okay if to stop doing something in order to improve quality. If there’s no return on investment or if your membership doesn’t support a product, you do not need to keep trying to make it work. However, it could be that you need to rework the approach to gain membership support.
Sometimes members say they do want a product or service, but you also need to see if the data supports the claim. This might mean instead of increasing the number of services you offer; you instead make them different and better. Whatever you do, the focus should always be on serving members better, especially when you’re doing strategic planning or developing new programs. Having a small team may have its limits, but that doesn’t mean the quality of what you deliver needs to suffer.
Having a small team also has its perks:
- More flexibility.
I love the flexibility. We can make significant shifts in how we do things internally and implementing those changes is easier because there are fewer people to retrain. Also, by working on projects collaboratively, we are more in touch with each other’s roles and responsibilities, which again, makes it easier to successfully execute changes across the team.
- Your teamwork needs to be great.
With a small team and a lot of people to serve, we have no choice but to be great team players. We also build trust quicker or stronger within our team because we are a close-knit group and rely on each other. Having that support is great for keeping any one person from being overwhelmed. If you have a good checklist and a good process, you feel safe asking your co-worker to take a chunk of the checklist. We have that trust here.
- You get to really learn about other departments.
With a small staff, you need all hands on deck, and sometimes that means working on something from another department. We know what everyone’s working on, and we take turns relying on each other to execute projects in each division.
Even if you aren’t many, there is a lot you get out of hustling with a small team and, of course, a lot you can accomplish.