There are a few good reasons why family members and friends aren’t always a good fit for a seat at your business round table. They may be great to talk to during a bad break up, but they probably don’t have a clue how to properly support you in your business.
You may have a few haters in your corner that don’t understand why you can’t be happy working for someone else. Then there’s always the folks who are only happy when you fall down. (You know what I’m talking about.) You may even have some very well-meaning folk who just can’t keep what you do straight.
You need folks in your corner who will keep you motivated, hold you accountable and serve as sounding boards.
Having a healthy support system of folks that can motivate, guide and hold you accountable could be the missing key to your success.
If you want to be a lion and slay your business, you can’t hang out with sheep who don’t understand the business ground you’re hunting in.
Who Do You Have in Your Corner?
In my last post Are You Alone on an Island I talked about how important it is to delegate to others and share the load. This is especially key if you are a manager or team lead and you have more strategic responsibilities competing for your attention.
If you are an entrepreneur or micro business owner, it is very important to not only have people you can delegate to, but to have people who can keep you focused on the bigger picture.
Entrepreneurs often seek support from the wrong people. They use family members or friends as sounding boards, who don’t understand the entrepreneurial struggle.
When you’re working for someone else, you (hopefully) have strategic guidance from a senior team that sets the direction for the work you do.
As entrepreneurs, setting a strategy for your business and sticking the course can be a challenge when you’re down in the trenches working your business. When you get stuck, it’s easy to reach out to the people you always go to for support.
Get an Advisory Board
I strongly recommend evaluating who you have as your “advisory board”.
An advisor is someone with a deeper knowledge in an area than you possess. Ideally someone with business experience and an understanding of your business and goals.
Gather these folks around you and set established times to review your business strategy, action plan and lay out where you’re going next. Their feedback will be valuable.
The right advisor can serve as a mentor or guide-giving you feedback on what you’re doing.
Join a Mastermind Group
Can’t find the right people to focus just on your business? Find a mastermind group.
Successful mastermind groups (and advisory groups for that matter) don’t need to meet with high frequency. You can still accomplish a lot and get valuable input meeting only a few times a year.
Mastermind partners are often in different industries, but they have the know-how to help you in goal setting and follow through.
The key again is to have the right people in your corner.
Traits for a Good Mastermind Partner or Advisor
Here are the traits I looked for in my mastermind partners:
- Trustworthy–If you don’t trust them, then it won’t work! This is the most important one for me. You have to be comfortable sharing your confidential information. You’ll have to give details so they know how to guide you. Trust is the glue of a great mastermind partnership.
- Maintains Accountability–Will they hold your feet to the fire? There are enough people to blow smoke. You need people in your corner who will
hold you accountable without beating you down. It’s a delicate balance. They have to know you well enough to call you out with love when you’re faking it, then help you get back on track.
- Creative Thinker–Do they think out of the box? Creative thinkers who approach problem solving from a different point of view can really help you make shifts. Get folks who color outside the lines-especially if you prefer the straight and narrow.
- Non-Judgmental–There are enough folks who will judge you and bring you down-mastermind partners shouldn’t. Chances are you do a pretty good job of beating yourself up. You’ll need folks who see the diamond in the rough to help you get through those rough patches. Judgmental folks need not apply.
- Gives Productive Feedback–You may need someone to help you see a blind spot. Productive feedback is like holding up a mirror and giving you a reflection of what others see. This can help you move past behaviors that are getting in your way.
- Helps Move Your Comfort Zone–Remember, lions don’t hang out with sheep! I’m not saying you have to be a predator, but you need folks who will push you and challenge you.
Sheep are only going to hang around and wait to be fed or become prey. If you are hungry for your business to succeed, your fellow lions will keep you on your game.