by James Himm Mitchell, M. A.
LifePlan Coaching & Consulting
In my last couple of articles, I shared some tips on building strong business network relationships. Keeping with the relationship aspect of business, this time I’m going talk about building supportive relationships in your network.
When you run your own business, you need the help of others in many ways. You need to grow a network of business contacts, virtual help, colleagues and others who can help you with various aspects of running your business. But there's another type of support you need as well. 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 good to know yourself. You should understand the warning signs when, for example, your confidence or motivation is starting to flag. Know your own areas of weakness or things you need to work on.
2. Family and Friends
Family and friends are 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. They've gone further down the road you're on and they 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. Coaches and Consultants
Like a mentor, a coach or consultant can help you by lending you their experience and skill. But a coach or consultant's approach is more direct. You pay them for their services, so they offer more direct help usually than mentors do. They're there to help you. Get recommendations from colleagues and do a trial session before signing up for anything long term.
5. Good Advice
Try to identify some other sources of good advice on the internet. Seek out a website for entrepreneurs that offers help or encouragement with its content. Look for a forum or social media group that's particularly supportive of its members.
Next time, I’ll be sharing advice on 5 more tips aimed at helping you build support you for your network.