So if you’re reading this I’m guessing you run a business, aspire to do so or are just a huge fan of my charming prose (erm, yeah, ok…. probably not). Either way, I run my own business too and as anyone can tell you, it’s not easy.
However, what is clear to me is that many early stage entrepreneurs are suffering from a similar problem. Ironically, it is probably the flipside of the same coin that drives them forward. They are confident in their abilities, have great ideas, tenacity (etc, etc) but they aren’t necessarily good at releasing control or letting their defences down to get help.
Whilst people sometimes believe asking for help or guidance is a sign of weakness or a lack of capability, it is not and they are missing what many highly successful entrepreneurs already understand and appreciate.
(Fingers crossed you agree with these 2 statements!)
1 – You are not and are unlikely to be a master of everything
2 – Your time is hugely valuable
(Phew, I knew you’d agree – you look intelligent)
So, why not get help from experts in areas where there is room for improvement!?
(There are endless analogies for this in our personal lives and you don’t need me to signpost them.)
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
I suspect you can think of times when you have had to immerse yourself into an area (fleetingly) to correct an issue and then had to move on to the next area requiring your ‘emergency’ focus.
And repeat, and repeat.
No doubt at some point you will have to revisit one of the problem areas because ultimately things aren’t static in business. Maybe what you did to ‘stop the bleeding’ worked for a while…. but the landscape changed or…. that tactic is no longer applicable… or the remedy wasn’t even valid originally?!?
(Honesty time – we’re all friends here - even with hindsight, you don’t always know what you did wrong on those occasions.)
Maybe, just maybe… you could have asked for help or advice? Could you have laid stronger foundations? Could you have learned and developed from an expert, mentor or whoever it may be?
(Ding, ding, ding – correct answer alert – of course you could)
It could be any one of the many great minds you’ve met along the way!
DON'T GET ISOLATED
I cannot stress how important it is that you don’t become isolated and bogged down in your desperation to grow your mailing list, or to see a path to the required Annual Recurring Revenue or the latest KPI that you’ve become fixated with.
Get out there, meet people, ask questions and listen LOTS!
It seems to be quite a divided area where it comes to getting help (whether paid or unpaid) on core business functions. In the vast majority, we don’t typically baulk at getting finance help from an accountant or legal tips from a solicitor but as you edge towards commercial activities, people get a lot more nervous.
Sadly, I can often tell why. People have a fear of the snake oil salesman or the flighty or overly trendy ‘creative’ wearing a bow tie. In some cases, that’s the right tactic – approach with caution.
BUT, do not apply that theory to all. If someone has experience in your sector or a great external perspective, use it. Focus your effort into areas where you can make a difference! Quite simply, other people can help you maximise your strengths and support or supplement your weaknesses.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
1 – Could you work with this person? (Do you trust or respect them? Is their working style compatible?)
2 – Are they capable? Can you see their merits?
3 – Do they believe in you / your company?
The third one may be a little unusual but I think it’s important. If I don’t think I can help someone, I don’t want to take their money. I’ll suggest alternate ideas or tactics but if they are sold on something that I don’t have faith in, I don’t think it’s fair for me to take that assignment.
In addition, if you have nagging doubts on how well you connect with someone, and you’re paying for their expertise, that is only eventually going to be tested and strained to breaking point.
You need your energy elsewhere, don’t go down that road.
Start small, network more and talk to people about their businesses and talk things through with people you trust and respect. You will get some powerful external perspectives and that could make the vital difference in the next RFI you complete or the next marketing campaign you run.
Plus, it often just makes you feel better by having a human conversation and not being stuck glued to your laptop for 12+ hours a day.
Break the monotony, be bold, accept useful help and be positive.
And of course, where possible, pay it forward and help people too. It feels good.
I'm Pete Grosse, I run Team 144, which is a small business and startup consultancy. We are passionate about harnessing creativity to generate positive (and authentic) business growth. We help businesses utilise sales, marketing, social and video to improve the quantity and quality of customer interactions.
If you want to develop a new sales channel, or need to get your business to standout authentically but are baffled by the latest social media trend, I can help.
Contact me via my website (team144.co.uk), via twitter (@petegrosse) or on LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/petergrosse).