When I began my first big entrepreneurial effort, I really felt alone. I thought I was the only person going through all the pains of finding cash, hiring the right staff, figuring out how to make payroll, finding new vendors, etc. Sure, there were lots of people out there starting a business but I felt that my challenges were unique to me. Guess what? Everyone goes through their own set of startup challenges. So, why not get connected to others who are also on the journey to share experiences. Yes, you may have a mentor, you may go to SCORE, you may go to tech meetups— and these are all very valuable and important for learning. However, having a group of peers who you can confide in and get honest feedback on a regular basis is invaluable.
Create your own ‘forum’- or group of peers- who you can share your experiences with so you can learn and grow with each other. An excellent group of peers would be fellow entrepreneurs who are not emotionally or financially committed to you- so NOT spouses, partners and employees. I first discovered this ‘forum’ concept when I joined the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). They have over 25 years perfecting this model…so, if you have built a business that’s generating $1M plus annually, you may want to consider joining EO to get a valuable community to help support you as you sustain and grow your business. When I joined EO several years ago, my forum helped me think about how to raise capital and scale my business to take it to the next level.
Recently, with my current business, I’ve lead the charge to start a new forum for scalable/tech startups, leveraging what I’ve learned over the past several years. I reached out to 10 folks who I respected and admired in the StartOut community— and even a couple of folks who I didn’t know but could potentially benefit from the experience (and didn’t compete directly with each other). All of them saw the need and 8 signed on for the experience. An ideal forum is 5-10 people, this allows for diversity of thought? Convinced that a peer group/forum would help you? What are you waiting for… go get connected!!!