Success or Failure - Which are you Choosing?
Being receptive to guidance and assistance could easily be the difference between success and failure. We all know how many businesses don’t make it past the three year mark and although those statistics are often attributed to financial issues, I contend that going it alone is a sure fire way to get nowhere fast.
Each of us only knows what we know and as much as we depend on our expert knowledge to support us in furthering our business efforts, there comes a point when we bump up against the wall of the unknown. That wall is hard, inflexible and the more we hit our head against it, the more our pain grows. Culturally, we are expected to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, which implies that it is up to us to figure “it” out. When we aren’t able to, we feel inadequate and tend to compare ourselves to everyone else, holding the false belief that they are successfully going it alone.
The good news is that there are people and organizations who want to help you! Sure, some of them come with a price tag, but that is not always or necessarily the case. Consider these possibilities:
Reach out to companies/people who are doing something similar to you but not targeting the same market (when I started my plus size clothing company, there were many clothing manufacturers in Sonoma County but their products were for children, missy sizes, or sportswear).
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is one of the country’s best kept secrets! It is a national program offered through the Small Business Administration and they provide free consulting services to businesses that have skin in the game as well as workshops for all levels of business.
Join a monthly or quarterly Mastermind group that provides the opportunity for you to share your brilliance as well as get the help you seek. Traditionally, it is lonely at the top and being in a group of your peers can be a business changing experience. The container created is relational, high level and is a place where you can let your hair down.
Hire a consultant! There are many good ones who cover the full spectrum of business development needs. Having a neutral set of eyes on you and your company can be worth its weight in gold! Getting help to solve a specific problem that is holding you back can open the doors you’ve been unable to unlock. Long term consulting relationships are especially useful if you are in growth mode and need guidance to scale with more ease.
Put together an advisory board of people you know to be smart, supportive, industry specific, skill specific and bring them together for a quarterly session on behalf of your business.
Invite key people (can be friends, coworkers, peers, business professionals) to a onetime brainstorming group. I have done this many times over the years and it is especially helpful if you have a specific issue to focus on. Using a facilitated process, a lot of ground gets covered in a relatively short period of time and you end up with actionable steps to move the situation at hand.
Bring in a facilitator to guide the process (whatever it might be) for clearer, quicker, and more streamlined results.
Ask someone whose business acumen you respect and admire to take on a mentoring role. There are successful business people who would be honored to support you in your business and professional growth. Be specific about what you need and be flexible and accommodating of their busy schedule.
Over the years, I have used every one of these of these options to support my business. I still partake of many in my role as a business consultant as well as offer them to my clients. I am whole heartedly grateful for the brain trust of support that exists in our business community and I encourage you, whether your business is micro, small, or medium sized, emerging or established, to reach out and ask for what you need. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised and greatly encouraged by the responses you receive and the results you garner.