Having a community of resources to turn to makes a huge difference not only in an entreprenuer’s business, but in her life as well. Having had my own firm for more than seven years, I’ve developed a network of individuals I use almost as a board of directors for my small business. The time I spend with them is actually a strategic investment in the growth of my business, in how I serve my clients and in my sanity.
Here’s what my business confidants provide me:
- Perspective. It is easy to get enamored with your own ideas—oh, this will be great; my phone will be ringing off the hook; I am brilliant. Or conversely, disenchanted with the idea—I don’t know what I was thinking; this is ridiculous; no one will ever want this. A business confidant will look at things from another perspective—maybe even a client’s—and provide valuable feedback on your offering, the pricing, or any number of other issues you pay be facing. This input is invaluable.
- Insight. We can never see our strengths as clearly as someone else can. Especially those subtle strengths that are just part of who we are because they are so innate to our persona—we don’t even know recognize they are strengths. Your business confidant will give you is insight into your differentiators. Knowing these will help you market more effectively and will give you an extra boost of confidence when you need it.
- Accountability. It is easy to procrastinate or just not do important tactics that will make a difference in your business. After all, client work always comes first. Things like marketing yourself, networking, finding a subcontractor or even cleaning off your desk can easily be shoved aside. Having a confidant that you share your big and small goals will help ensure those goals don’t get lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
- Loneliness. There are a lot of adjectives describing entrepreneurs: driven, creative, assertive, self- motivated. The word you don’t hear often to describe entrepreneurs is lonely. But if you’ve ever been there, you know its true. Entrepreneurs, at least those starting out, are frequently working alone, out of their homes or with remote teams. Having a confidant helps alleviate some of that loneliness and allow you to feel like you have a team in place.
Where do you find a confidant? Friends, former colleagues, clients or strategic partners and business coaches make great confidants. In my case, I have several folks I consider confidants: a former client/good friend, a strategic partner and a coach. Some I pay for their time and some I swap with.
You probably already have potential confidants already, folks you love talking to about your business. The secret is regular, focused conversations that will help you achieve your goals.