Whether you are about to start your business or whether you have been working at your business for a few years now, you need to understand that running a business can be a draining and lonely experience.
The most valuable piece of advice that I give to new business starters or people who have been running their business for a few years is that you should not do it alone. For all of us operating a small business, the business is us. Without our health and wellbeing, the business will reflect that stress and tension that we feel. So, you need to set up your support systems to ensure that for any situation, you have someone you can talk to.
The most obvious people are your family and loved ones, but while their love and support are invaluable, sometimes, all they can do is to listen to you because the situation may need experience and technical advice that loved ones may not be able to provide.
So we all need out trusted business advisors.
These might be a business mentor who has run a business themselves and learned things “on the streets”, or a professional accountant, lawyer or management consultant. In specific cases, they may be an I.T. consultant or a marketing specialist. You seek these people out not only for their expertise (and therefore implementable technical advice) but also for their depth of experience. While technical advice about the situation may be suitable, it should be tempered with experience about what may go wrong while implementing it, or experience about different choices.
For example, I received the best advice from a lawyer when I was involved in a dispute about a business contract. She told me: “Clearly they are in the wrong and you have a cause of action that I’m sure you will win; however I can’t guarantee a cap to the cost if you wish to pursue it, and it may take several months if not longer – are you prepared to put aside the rest of your life during this time to stress out about this? Legally you should pursue him but commercially you may wish to just chalk it up to experience.”
This video shows you how to find that kind of trusted advisor.
The important issue is that you can trust them and their advice.
Once you are comfortable with them as a person and that you can grow to trust and rely on them you can look more closely at what kind of relationship you can develop.
- Make sure you are both clear on deliverables;
- Clarify what they need from you’
- Agree who you talk to on a day to day basis and who will do the work;
- Agree on costs and cost structures; as well as payment terms;
- Explore what else they can bring to the relationship and what you can offer back.
Take your time and choose wisely.
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I hope to see you there!