Being an entrepreneur and running a company is not for the faint-hearted and it certainly isn’t a sprint. You need seconds if you are going to run the entrepreneur marathon successfully. We spend an inordinate amount of time with the people we work with and often we do not have social lives while we are trying to get off the starting block. What do I mean by the seconds or inner circle? I am referring to those people who you trust and keep close. They see the raw and real you.
I really recommend that you do stock take on your inner circle and see whether those people meet the following criteria.
- They believe in you and your vision
It is so important that your inner circle has people who have your back. They need to categorically believe in you and your potential. They need to be proud of you and buy into your vision of what it is that you want to do. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy and the last thing you need is inner circle people who are really in a trusted position but think you will fail or that your plans are “pie-in-the-sky” dreams. Do make a point of noticing who claps when you succeed and who is disappointed when you do not succeed. You need those people.
- They have their own goals
Your inner circle needs people who have their own big goals. They are positive and vibrant and determined and driven. They have a vision and a plan to reach that vision. They are action people. Of course, your vision is part of their vision, but it is not the only part. Think about it. We become the average of the people you hang out with. Hang out with people with aspirations and are going places. Run away from the crowd who will tell you that next month or next year will be soon enough. Run away from the people who are not willing to reduce their party and social life.
- They are professional people, and you pay them
Heavens yes, you pay them. Who am I speaking about here?
For your business to fly, you need to be in top form via the support of professional people like your accountant, dietician, personal trainer, life coach, business coach, social media expert or graphic designer. There are many others depending on the nature of your business. When we pay professionals, it allows us to work on our business and not in it. Let me add reliable childcare. I do not have to be an expert in accounting, marketing, sales, PR, social media. Instead, I can focus on my strengths and passion.
Of course, all those people cannot be on your pay roll as permanent employees. They need to be suppliers to your business, and you pay for service. When I think back over the years of me running my own company, I would be a wreck if I didn’t have an accountant. I have not needed to know how tax works, or the best way to structure X or Y. My accountant knows those things.
A warning here – I am not suggesting that you can know absolutely nothing because you are going to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people. You cannot have blind trust from an uninformed position. You need to know enough not to get in your own way.
- Practical people
The entrepreneurial life has big highs and many lows. There will be times when you lose the sale, don’t get the appointment, hear three NO’s in a row, your stock doesn’t arrive, the truck crashes, and the electricity and water supply are interrupted again. You will discover that a trusted person took you for a ride, a top person leaves your company and your friends complain they never see you. It is important then to have practical people in your circle. People who will sit with you and listen, but not fix. They will allow you your emotion in the situation. They may even turn up the music, cut you a slice of cake or dish up a bowl of ice cream, pour you a glass of wine or share your pizza or chocolate. They will allow you time to for all your emotions to emerge and slowly remind you that you didn’t sign up for “easy” and that you have what it takes. They will encourage you to find the learning in all of this and to get up and face your journey again.
What happens if you don’t have those people?
If you take stock of your inner circle and you find there are few or no people who have your back, they do not have goals and aspirations, are not professionals and are nowhere to be seen when you need a shoulder to cry on it is time for ACTION.
I suggest that you urgently identify and find the people you need. Approach them as paid suppliers and paid mentors. If you are not able to pay or even if you can, I suggest that you also watch webinars, read books and articles, attend networking meetings where you listen, absorb and learn.
Way back I had a mentor who I read all his articles and followed all his posts, but he did not know me at all. He made a huge difference in my working life.
Another option would be to remove the people who are not up to par from your inner circle. It is not always easy to remove people. Instead, you could dilute them by adding the right people. With time, they will have moved to an outer more distant circle or changed by learning from you. We move away from the things we do not like and move towards those behaviours and spaces that we do like. We become what we see and experience. You can model the way for others to learn from watching you.
A Big question for you to answer.
Are you an asset in your circle? It is easy to look around and dismiss people. Would you be dismissed from another person’s inner circle? Do you tick the blocks to be included in your own circle?
submitted by Colleen Qvist (Master Coach)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author.