We have all heard the old adage, “there is no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM'””. It makes complete sense. No team functions if any one of its members feels that they are the only person working solely for the success of the team. It just doesn’t work that way. So when you saw, “There is no ‘TEAM’ in ‘BUSINESS'” you probably thought, well that’s just crazy. No business is successful without the people that help manage and run it. This too is absolutely true, but small business owners often forget this.
We start a business on our own, taking on every position within the corporation, maybe hiring some skilled help for specific duties, but there is so much more we need support with. I wanted to remind other business owners of some of the different types of support we could have in our businesses.
A mentor is a person that has done what you are trying to do. They may be someone you can model your business after or they may be someone that knows your clients, inside and out. They will provide honest feedback when you are discussing your struggles and will help you feel more confident about your decisions. Find a person that embodies the aspects of business you want to see in yourself and your company.
In most cities over a certain size there is some sort of support for new businesses to get educated on starting a business. For established businesses these types of general courses will not be as great a value. Seek out people that give seminars or corporations that offer ongoing, high-level training so that you can get information that is more targeted to someone that is not new to business.
Find yourself an accountability partner, someone you can tell your challenges to. This person should not be tied to the outcome of your decisions, the way a spouse might be, but will help celebrate your wins, listen to your struggles, and provide some honest feedback when you ask for it. Sometimes just having someone to listen without judgment can be the best gift you could ever ask for.
Colleagues and Peers
These are the people you meet in networking groups, training, or within your community. You might know them from your volunteer positions or just through your kids’ sports. Sometimes you will find a person that is willing to share with you about their trials and successes. This way you can learn from them as well as share with them. This is not usually the kind of relationship where you want to “air your dirty laundry”, per-se, but sometimes you can get great ideas or insight into the way events are unfolding in your company and be able to address them appropriately.
There are many, very targeted associations. Some are industry specific, some skill specific, and are some investment specific. Find an association where you can belong and you feel like you fit in. There are often people within an association that have numerous years of experience. They will provide skilled insight into the issues you are having and ways to deal with it. You will also build your reputation as an expert as you help others around you. Again, this is not the place you want to talk about your financial disasters or past bankruptcies. There is just not enough privacy within the group to make it a safe place to completely open up.
Pay to get someone to help you focus on your challenges, investigate your strategies, and hold you accountable. A coach should be someone you feel comfortable talking to and that you will be open and honest with. Their job is to listen to you, strategize with you, and then help hold you accountable to the actions you have agreed to take. A coach must uphold an ethical standard to keep your privacy so this is where you can start getting the support for the issues that are more personal and usually more painful.
A mastermind group is a place where several people come together with the intent on supporting you and your challenges. The group will focus on one participant at a time and then strategize ideas on how they can move forward. This group is like a coaching group and should be facilitated by one person to help everyone keep on track. Like coaching there should be an agreement amongst the participants to uphold the privacy of each person so that everyone can feel safe to bring the core issues that are affecting their ability to move forward in their business.
We may start a business on our own but we will not succeed if we don’t reach out for support. Find the people that will listen when you need it, provide feedback, give you referrals, help you grow, and support your vision. As Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction is fond of saying, “Entrepreneurship is a full contact sport”, meaning sometimes you are going to take a hit and without a team to help pick you up and get you back on the offensive you are not going to win this game. So put your TEAM back in your business and SUCCEED!