If you're preparing to run for local office in the next election cycle, your planning should begin early. Much preparation goes into a winning campaign and the most important step is to form a solid team.
Your campaign is only as good as the people you have running it. You could be the best candidate in the field, but if your campaign team isn't up to the job you'll likely lose.
It is NEVER to early to begin planning this step of your campaign. Larger campaigns require larger teams, but even the smallest campaign should fill the following roles:
Priority one is to find a competent Campaign Manager. It doesn't matter if you're running for President of the United States or your local Dog Catcher, always have a campaign manager. You may be tempted in a small local race to go it alone and be your own campaign manager. DON'T!! You need someone who can be above the fray, watching the big picture. You need someone who can be objective and ask you the tough questions you can't ask yourself. Running your own campaign is one of the worst mistakes you can make as a candidate. Resist the temptation and find someone who understands the way an election should be run and has a grasp of the issues facing your campaign. Above all this must be a person you can trust and who trusts you.
The next spot to fill is your Field Director / Volunteer Coordinator. This person should be responsible for creating and managing lists of targeted voters and volunteers. It is this information, and how it's managed that can win or lose your election. Once you have these lists, use them! It's not enough to just have a good database, it must be worked into your overall plan.
Last but certainly not least, your Treasurer. This is a unique position because it requires a certain level of knowledge concerning your states campaign finance rules. This person must be able to dedicate time to you and your campaign at moments notice. Deadlines approach quickly, and if you're running a successful fundraising effort this person should be very busy! If possible, it is good to make a strategic choice when filling this position. Remember that in most states the name of your treasurer is required to be listed on all campaign material. From billboards to flyers and even TV ads, this person's name is visually linked to your campaign. Choosing a week respected, recognizable person lends instant credibility to you and your candidacy. Remember though, this person must first of all be qualified to do the job. Don't just pick a popular figure for the sake of using their name. They must be functional in their role.
This is a basic framework for a team that every campaign should use and implement. Larger campaigns will require more complex team structures, but this is a start for any size campaign.
Don't let much time pass in the early stages of your preparation before filling these positions. To win, you'll need all the help you can get, and the people in these roles will make all the difference.