Don’t do things alone. Your idea is yours, and you can make it happen, but leverage those around you to help.
When you have a business idea or need advice for your existing business who do you go to? Often times first time entrepreneurs are going to hit the Internet as a first resource, but are you also leveraging your local resources?
Go Local, Resources
I’m a huge advocate of leveraging local resources such as Small Business Development Centers through the SBA, and local organizations that might be funded by your state (Bozeman BEAR is a good example). Local extension offices for specific industries are important. There are lots of non-profit and for-profit organizations too. I recommend weeding through and contacting ones that you vet have a good reputation in your area, or nationally.
Since we are on the Internet now and your area might be different, here are a few suggestions to find a local organization that could likely help you:
- Start by asking trusted business people that you know. You likely know a few small business owners, ask them. Chances are they have worked with one of these offices.
- Google tips – Try searches like:
- YOUR CITY small business resource
- YOUR CITY YOUR INDUSTRY extension office
- Check your local state’s business website. Most have business sections with directories.
- Ask around or search for local startup or entrepreneur groups.
Sometimes you get connected with very seasoned business people that have moved over to organizations that help budding entrepreneurs, and sometimes you do get connected with people that don’t have a lot of real world business experience, but have experience in a particular field such as finance. Just use good judgement and don’t let everyone into your “trusted circle” of advisors, but listen and try to learn copiously from them.
What about consultants?
Yes, consultants ARE helpful, in fact I’m a marketing consultant so I would say the value of a consultant is important especially when we can share with you our real world, on the streets, been-in-the-trenches, first hand experience.
At the same time, consultants don’t typically give their time away for free. The “secret sauce” or value that they bring to the table for your business isn’t often freely available due to time constraints and reach of a consultant. But many times small business organizations can connect you with seasoned pros and people that are trust-worthy.
Whats the most important takeaway? Don’t live on an island.
We are social creatures by nature, sometimes having an awesome idea and building it or making it happen can feel lonely. Get out there and build the next big thing, but build a team of trusted advisors around you. These are people you trust, and have tons of value to offer you.
At the same time, respect these advisors and give back to them in return however you can. They are looking out for you. Look out for them too. Don’t steal their time, you don’t need to – just leverage their time and resources to boost your progress, and then offer something in return if you can.
Question: Do you have any small business / entrepreneur resources to share for new or first time people looking for help/info?
(photo credit: losangelesdistrict)