Do you have a support network? By support network I mean specific people that you can talk to and sometimes lean on when need be. As a Solopreneur or Small Business Owner, the journey you take with your business can get rather challenging at times. You want to ensure that you build in some reinforcements while the winds are not blowing. Ie. right now!
Now is the perfect time to evaluate your current support network or indeed create one, if you don’t already have one. Before the busyness of the year takes over and you get lost in tasks and to-do’s! You need to take advantage of this honeymoon period, when all is working well and you are thinking clearly.
Now’s the time to set yourself up with the support you’ll need to get through the rest of the year.
It’s time to build your 4 pillars of support!
The support you’ll need to achieve your business goals for 2019 will vary depending on what is going on both with you personally and within your business. Throughout the year you will need support in a number of different forms to keep you focused and moving forward. That’s why I suggest you build a support network that provides for a broad foundation. I call it the 4 pillars of support.
Here is my definition of each of the 4 pillars:
1. Your Significant Other or Family Member
I start with this pillar because it is really the most important. Yes, your relationship with your significant other will impact your business! Basically, they need to be on board with what you’re doing. They don’t need to be involved directly but you should have open communication about major events and goals for your business so they have an idea at least of what you’re dealing with. The support of your significant other cannot really be underestimated. While this pillar of support may not ever involve you getting any advice or solutions, the strength to this pillar is in the unconditional love and support. When you’ve had a hard day, lost a sale or completely failed at something… this pillar of support will be the one you need.
2. Other Solopreneurs & Small Business Owners
It’s important to not just know other business people you work with but to also have them within your social circle. Whether you call them friends or associates doesn’t matter. The point is that you meet with them on a regular basis. For many Solopreneurs and Small business Owners it can feel quite isolating, especially in the early years. Meeting with like-minded business people allows you access to other people’s business experience, advice and solutions. And to offer the same to others.
3. A Close Friend Who Doesn’t Work in Your Industry
This is an easy one and a support that we’re all likely familiar with. This is the person that will listen to you when you need to just talk, or they will be the someone you go to to be pleasantly distracted from other things that are going on. It’s therefore important that this pillar of support be someone who is not in your industry. There are two reasons for this: 1. If you are talking about business issues, they have an outsider point of view to share with you and as they are not at all attached to your business, they can help you put things into perspective when necessary. And 2. As this person is not involved in your business industry, they can provide a nice escape from discussing business issues when you’d rather not.
4. A Coach or Mentor
Let’s start by distinguishing the difference between the two. A Mentor is someone who has specific experience, perhaps in your industry, who assumes a role of advising and guiding you on your journey. Their advice and guidance is based on their own experiences.A Coach (we’re talking professionally certified Coach) provides support and empowerment within a co-active relationship. Unlike other professional advisors, a Coach works alongside you to achieve your outcomes. The role of a coach is multi-faceted and you can see my full description here. A Coach is trained to put your interests first above all and be neutral in their approach. Working with a coach therefore opens up self-awareness, opportunities and assists in breaking through limitations that you may or may not be aware of. A good Coach will support you and hold you accountable. They will also work with you to create a specific action plan and provide tools to move you towards your intended outcomes.