“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” This age-old proverb is talking about the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people.
As the founder of a startup, surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs is essential. It can have a major impact on your personal and business success. Unfortunately, many business owners fail to seek out like-minded entrepreneurs due to fear, feelings of inadequacy or a lack of time.
However, I’ve learned that when you connect with other successful entrepreneurs it goes a long way. Here’s what you can stand to gain.
When you seek out like-minded entrepreneurs, regardless of your industry, you’ll get fired up about being an entrepreneur. It’s not always easy to meet up with other entrepreneurs, but I’m always impressed when I do. Their success, determination and confidence gives me the courage to make the next move.
For example, a few months ago I talked with a long-time entrepreneur. He’s been in business for over 30 years. He told me about an upgrade to his facility that turned his business into a state of the art, green operation. I was astounded at the level of passion he still had for his business. His passion got me fired up about my own business improvement plans.
Celebrities usually talk about the day they got their “big break.” For entrepreneurs, the “big break” is a result of the right connections.
Spending time with other like-minded entrepreneurs opens doors. It connects you with even more influential people. Making connections gets your name out there, leads to business referrals and even joint ventures.
Be supportive and lend a helping hand. This creates value for fellow entrepreneurs. You won’t be handed a business referral or opportunity by pestering people. They have to feel like you are ready to help them before they think to refer someone to you.
I’ve benefited from great referrals and opportunities thanks to some good connections I’ve made. Most of my initial projects came as referrals. And as unglamorous as it was, I needed it to get started in business.
3. Shortened learning curve
If you engage with other like-minded entrepreneurs, you will learn at a much faster rate; quicker than you would learn on your own. The typical entrepreneur learns by trial and error. Failure is a normal part of learning. But it’s best to learn from someone who has been there since their startup mistakes can save you time and money.
Meanwhile, I’ve been blessed to know entrepreneurs from different walks of life. And one of them, a highly successful entrepreneur, once told me his secret to managing 50 locations and hundreds of employees: “I don’t babysit.”
He didn’t believe in micromanagement. Consequently, he learned to set clear expectations for each location, position and role. Rather than micromanage the day-to-day, he focused on whether or not expectations were being met.
Making connections with other like-minded entrepreneurs can be a challenge. Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles don’t make it easy for us to all connect. However, the value of making connections and nurturing relationships is priceless.
In fact, go out of your way. Seek out other like-minded entrepreneurs. You’ll be surprised at how much you gain.
This article has been edited.
As the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly-effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Connect with @sthimothy on Twitter.