I’ve just started to help a friend and fellow Link4Business member with his new business. As someone who has been running my own businesses since 1992, I often forget what knowledge has been absorbed during that time.
When starting out in business most of us are very enthusiastic, excited and have a great passion for our idea. But is that enough?
When you are a business of one person (usually the case when we start, and often for a while after too) we are incredibly vulnerable.
It doesn’t take long for someone to “recommend” that you go networking that’s how you grow a business. Many tell us this because they were told it themselves with little evidence of their own to support it, but you know what? Being in a room with excited other business owners can be great fun and it is certainly motivating.
For someone networking for the first time though it can be incredibly daunting. I have spoken to many people who have shared how they tried to look “Business like”, “Professional” and to “nod and smile” positively, doing their very best to look like they knew what they were doing, and not get caught out… but inside they were feeling like everyone else were “Proper Business People” and that they were just frauds without a clue, hanging in there till the final bell went, and they could escape.
That is just the start of it…
Once we get into a conversation, any one of a range of different service providers will find an opening in your business to push a product or service… The problem is we don’t know what we don’t know.
Everything we are told about sounds amazing… I could definitely use that product / service, “Please, give me your card”, you hear yourself saying excitedly, this is going to accelerate things, get my back office sorted, save me time / money, make me more visible…
Everyone is also so professional and brilliant at what they do… what an amazing group… I hope one day I will be able to move amongst them and be one of them.
There are so many things to consider…
When I initially sat down with my friend I showed him a list of 47 things to consider (before he started). Anything from what type of company does he want? What is the company name? Is the Domain available, social media account names, which email system, Android vs iOS? … right through to how is he going to record his leads? What accounting software will he use? What are the colours for the company, logo, marketing strategies, imagery, pictures, video… does he have an accountant? What is the pricing strategy, who is the target audience, has he got some numbers worked out for revenues vs costs, is this idea even viable! … THE LIST GOES ON…
Quite honestly there is no way any single one of us is capable of knowing all of this… and more importantly how do we know which bits are relevant to what we are doing and our business.
Before you know it the uninitiated new business owner could be signed up for a whole range of products, services, subscriptions and ongoing costs that are inappropriate for what you do.
It’s going to need a team…
Yep, and where do you find a team that has your interests at heart not their own?
There is no real shortcut to this. It’s often said that you need to meet people a number of times before you build up the confidence to trust them.
When we meet people a number of times, we begin to ‘feel’ how they behave with us. Are they too salesy, are they trying to push something on us, tell us what to do? Are they steering us towards something that they like, or have an interest in?
Are they warm and friendly, looking to help us hold on to our money and make great value decisions and choices that work for us. Do they appear genuinely keen to help us with signposting or suggestions, opening up their contacts to us, just because they can, and with no vested interest in our decision in any way?
Do you think you are going to need a team? There are 6 million or so micro businesses in the UK, every single one of them relies on other businesses around them. Collaboration is king, and often we are doing it without even realising we are.
If we can co-create a thriving business community in which everyone wants each other to succeed we are much more likely to survive in these uncertain times we live in today.