Do you have a well-put-together business support system? Have you truly considered this aspect of starting a new business? As humans, it’s natural for us to seek out support when a loved one passes away, or someone we care about is fighting addiction, but what about when we start a new business?
Reconnecting with school chums – Whether it’s high school or college, old friends are a great group to build from. Make sure all of your friends and family know what you’re doing with your business. I’m not saying to bore them with updates, but include information about your business in your online profiles. Invite them to like and follow your business pages and profiles.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce – You would be surprised how many people check to see if you’re associated with your local chamber. Being an active member can boost your networking exponentially.
Join SCORE – SCORE is a service implemented by the United States Small Business Association that helps entrepreneurs find mentors and get free business advice.
Leverage your faith-based community – If you regularly attend church or other religious meetings, this is a great way to network with like-minded people. The positive impact is contagious.
Leverage your extracurricular groups – Do you play basketball once a week with the guys or sit with a group of moms while your daughter does ballet class? This can also be a positive way to network and build your business support system.
Attend conferences – Conferences are a great way to learn new things and make new friends at the same time. Most conferences meet annually, and you can gain a lot of momentum not only by attending, but also by contributing on a panel or as a speaker.
Online groups – There are millions of online groups and communities for most any industry based on a crazy number of topics. You can find and utilize these communities on Facebook, Google+, forums, and Slack. These aren’t the only place, but they will get your started. These communities are chock-full of people just like you learning and making a way in the business world.
Work in a group – Even if you’re a solopreneur, you can work with others through various avenues. You can either use the aforementioned online communities, or you can work at a co-working space. You can even venture out to Starbucks or other places where entrepreneurs might stop in to grab coffee and do a bit of work on the fly.
Have a funding strategy – When you are starting out in business, in most cases you need capital, and a significant amount of it. Funding is mostly something you will visit during the planning stages of your business. Be very careful about bringing on debt early on. Remember, the odds are against you. Most start-ups never see the light of day.
Stay connected – Make a concerted effort to remain connected to your network. Networking can be difficult, so once you’ve built your business support system, nurture it.
Building your business support system is a concept of working smarter rather than harder. You are covering more bases by having more input than just your own. You will thank yourself if the going ever gets tough. Do you have any tips I missed? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!