9 Tips for Building Your Support Network
This page may contain links to Amazon.com or other sites from which I may receive commission on purchases you make after clicking on such links. Read my full Disclosure Policy
When I launched my business in 2002, I was very excited to have something that was “all mine.” Who wouldn’t be? However, my desire for independence almost prevented me from being successful!
I learned that when you run your own business, you need to grow a network of colleagues, service providers and others who can help you in various ways. But it’s also wise to build a more casual support network for knowledge, encouragement, advice and motivation.
1. Understand where you need help.
First of all, it’s important to know your own areas of weakness and things you need to work on, and to recognize the warning signs that your confidence or motivation is starting to flag.
2. Talk to family and friends.
Family and friends can be a great source of support, even when they have nothing to do with your business. In fact, they can be a great help because they’re not involved. They know you, not your business. Identify those who are most helpful to you in your regular life and enlist their support.
3. Seek out mentors.
A mentor is someone who has more experience than you have at what you do. Because they’ve gone further down the road you’re on and know what’s ahead, a mentor can help to steer you on this path when you get stuck. They can identify your weaknesses or trouble spots and help you overcome them.
4. Hire a coach or consultant.
Like a mentor, a coach or consultant can help you by lending you their experience and skill, but because you pay for their services, they usually offer more direct help than mentors do. Each coach has a different approach, so get recommendations from colleagues and do a trial session before signing up for anything long term.
5. Find good advice.
Identify sources of good advice on the internet. Seek out a website with content that helps or encourages entrepreneurs . Look for a forum or social media group that’s particularly supportive of its members and get involved.
6. Look for motivation and inspiration.
Try to identify what motivates or inspires you or pushes you to keep working, even when things get tough. Post these concepts in words and/or pictures on a vision board, and make a point of referring to it when your motivation is waning.
7. Get good tech support.
A much more tangible area where you need support is on the technological side of things. It’s good to have a friend or associate who is particularly tech savvy and can help you out with minor changes to your website and other tasks that may be challenging for you.
8. Nurture your relationship with your biggest fans.
Some of your best support will come from your fans, followers and customers. When you have an especially good relationship with a particular reader or client, nurture this relationship and garner support from it. These individuals will be a great help when you wonder whether your efforts to deliver value are paying off.
9. Be prepared.
Finally, identify some sources of support just in case your business blows up and you have to start all over again. It’s something we all hope won’t happen, but if you’re prepared and it does, it’ll be much easier to rebuild. Identify people in your network who can help you rebuild your business in this type of scenario. You could even keep a file of their emails separate from everyone else’s.
What has been the greatest source of support in your business?