You don’t have to go it alone just because you’re an entrepreneur.
Just like in the personal life, everyone in business needs a network of people, too. Especially for entrepreneurs, these support groups help to break the isolation and make you feel better, knowing that you have entrepreneur friends, supporters, and partners.
Having the support of people with similar interests and passions can boost your productivity and success quickly. It is important to have a good support network that you can brainstorm with, and can provide you with honest and relevant feedback.
Here are my tips for building a network to support your entrepreneurial goals:
Create a small group of like-minded entrepreneurs
You may have already heard of something called “mastermind” groups. A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.
A mastermind group provides a great opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, experience, and expertise of others. It also provides you with a forum to share ideas, frustrations, and even have some fun.
Build one. Make sure that the other people you engage with aren’t competitors to you or each other, but represent a range of interconnected roles or industries, so they can help each other.
A successful mastermind group must have a leader, a clearly defined topic, and each member must be prepared to be an active participant.
Be mindful of time. Entrepreneurs are all busy, so don’t schedule more than 60 to 90 minutes once each month.
Participate in conferences
Entrepreneurs usually really like to spend time working, whether it’s at home or in the office. Often they work on weekends, holidays, sometimes even during their vacations. But I, like many entrepreneurs, will make an exception for the right speaking engagement. Conferences are a great way to make new friends, gain new industry insights, and expand your professional network.
Social media provides plenty of opportunity for support. Regardless of your topic, there is likely to be a group, community, or forum to offer you support. These communities often include knowledgeable, experienced individuals who help others, answer questions, and give a hand to the group members. If you find the right community, and you have a question or problem, chances are good that they will be answered or solved within minutes.
Learn from mentors
Especially when you’re just starting out, you want to meet potential mentors who help you along the path. To do that, look for experienced leaders and mentors and ask them if you can join them for a conversation.
Show that you’re serious about growing your business and let them know how you think they may be able to help, and ask for their advice. Be an engaged listener with an open mind. Ideally, you will leave the meeting with a clear understanding of next steps.
Give more than you ask to receive
As you build your support network, focus on what you can offer, not what you can gain. You have to give to get.
Be generous when others need assistance, and offer them your knowledge. Your little support here and there will add up and make others much more generous with theirs. Be encouraging to others, and when you can, provide them with the tools to finding their own answers, whether it’s by being a sounding board, or asking them questions so that they come to their own realizations, rather than just giving them answers.
A good support network is beneficial if you want to make big changes or achieve big goals. A network of like-minded, supportive peers can give you ideas you wouldn’t think of on your own, and helps see all the little details. It can also help create an environment of empowerment, insight, and innovation.
Building a good support network takes patience and consistency. If you take the time, research, and fill your support network with the right people, you will achieve amazing results.