Community//

Entrepreneurs Are Only as Good as Their Support Groups

The Power Of A Circle Of Influence

It takes a very special person with a strong constitution to become a successful entrepreneur.

Someone who chooses to be an entrepreneur as a career must realize that they will be devoting a majority of each day to their business and that this could potentially interfere with social relationships.

If this presents a problem, these ambitious business people can always speak with a career coach or therapist for support and advice. But an ideal choice for a source of such comfort is a fellow entrepreneur—Who better to take notes from then someone who is in your shoes?

Some of the most valuable and practical advice for people starting small businesses is likely to come from a social network of acquaintances: friends and family with entrepreneurial experience, mentors, peers and, most likely, other entrepreneurs.

There is a myriad of concerns that will immediately hit the budding entrepreneur and that need to be addressed quickly. These include tax issues, procedures to register your company, banking matters and funding and financial worries. They are delicate and private matters best to talk about with other small business people who can provide valuable advice that can be trusted. Interacting with others with similar concerns in this way promotes a system of reciprocity and mutual cooperation.

The major technological advances in digital communication have only made this type of social network more prevalent and accessible. Great advice is just an email away for smart entrepreneurs who have established peer contacts in their own industries. In fact, most successful entrepreneurs will encourage new entrants in the same marketplace to reach out so that a cross pollination of ideas will develop that can only strengthen each other’s businesses.

Dr. James Nitit Mah, President and Founder of Intellegend Corp., has researched how business people can become more successful working together. He believes that most entrepreneurial problems are best solved by coming up with several possible solutions before deciding a course of action. What better way to get an array of ideas than by consulting with your peers?

Taking this theory into consideration, positive, interactive feedback from peers and fellow entrepreneurs can provide a great boost to a corporate strategy. Sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t with similar companies will result in a collection of best practices for your industry. But in order to ensure that you fully grasp the main ideas of your peers, it is crucial to truly listen to their suggestions.

Image Courtesy of Dr. James Nitit Mah

Dr. James Nitit Mah also advises to keep in mind that when entrepreneurs work with their peers, it must be on a quid pro quo basis. That is, it must be done in a truly cooperative spirit, with all cards on the table and must mutually benefit all parties concerned. In short, establishing an honest and mutually beneficial connection between businesspeople must be the basis for this important social interactivity.

Other choices for assistance include leadership development courses and seminars often conducted by successful executives who have years or decades of experience starting new businesses in many fields. Some people have even documented their journeys in useful books such as The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business (Greenleaf Book Group Press) by Ed “Skip” McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker. If you can’t easily connect with fellow entrepreneurs at some point in your business development, books provide handy refresher courses.

It is also vital to continue to look to and count on your social entrepreneurial network as your business grows. There are even professional networks of entrepreneurs that you can consult to find and engage with small business people in specific industries. These include StartUpNation, Biznik, CofoundersLab and The Funded.

When you establish your network, it is important to take full advantage of the knowledge and expertise of your associates. One of the best ways to do this is to meet regularly to brainstorm to study and analyze the obstacles encountered by each member of the network.

It is imperative that you have a clear vision for your enterprise and that you can communicate it concisely and vividly to your peers. This will ensure that they understand your business vision and will lead to more workable suggestions.

Always remember that it is virtually impossible to achieve all that you want for your company by yourself. In addition to the entrepreneurial CEO, the best companies succeed because they comprise a team of talented individuals, not just an effective leader.

As the CEO, one can establish and present the vision, but it takes an organization of well-trained capable colleagues to get things done. “Entrepreneurship is about the people you work with—both within your company and surrounding you in a support group,” says Dr. James Nitit Mah. “The smart entrepreneur should count on social capital to keep ideas flowing and creativity as the basis for corporate growth.”

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