Running a business by yourself can be a lonely existence. Who do you talk to? Who can you trust? Those who are close to you might not understand the ins or outs of the daily running of a business or the pressure to bring in that winning contract, or close a deal.
When setting up a business don’t just focus on the business plan and the details of the cash-flow forecast, also consider the people aspect of the business. You need to surround yourself with individuals who have either ran a business, currently running a business or those that have a successful track record in their area of work.
Your inner circle should include an entrepreneur who can assist you to avoid the pitfalls, enlighten your journey as to the best approach to take whilst building your business. Ideally this will be someone who understands figures, who will assist you to interpret your break-even analysis or the importance of understanding your pricing strategy and someone who will encourage you to keep planning and moving forward. That person should be able to pick you up when nothing seems to be working and the bills are due.
Your wider network should consist of a cross section of individuals from all professional sectors, so that after a number of years you have experts around you who you can call friends. To get to this point will take time to plan, time to work on your personality and time to network.
Social media is key to maintaining and connecting with people all over the world, so don’t limit yourself to those who are local. Think wider a field, expand your borders and connect world-wide. Use the appropriate media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
On a local level be strategic in your approach. Don’t waste valuable time just going to business events to take a selfie. Be clear as to why you are going; be aware of who will be attending, be sure that you will benefit in more ways than one just by being there. Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before even paying for that ticket.
Remember that no business is an island; you need to connect with people that have similar interests, who have the drive and determination to build businesses together. You need to connect with people you can trust.
Getting the best out of social media is all about give and take. When you start out, the focus is on building your network and getting to know where your industry ‘meets’ online. “Spend some time following your clients, partners, industry experts, publications and even competitors,” says Gemma Farmer, Director of Neo PR.