As a business owner, you have no doubt faced the loneliness that comes with running your own business. Even if you are surrounded by people, you take the journey of running a business alone.
Traversing the challenges of a small business by yourself can be tough. Decisions have bigger impacts when they affect not only the entire company, but your personal life and family. Plus there is typically less wiggle room for bad decisions.
Just like an employee relies on coworkers for camaraderie and for accomplishing tasks within a company, you need a team of fellow business owners to do the same.
Your employees do not count in this scenario, because you are leading them. There is a fine line to balance between being a leader to your team and being vulnerable, sharing your doubts, and contemplating business decisions. Even if you have established a culture where they are empowered, you are still ultimately responsible for them and thus may not feel comfortable being as open with them as you would with a fellow business owner.
Cure the loneliness
Joining a group can be a tremendous help for loneliness and for ideas for growing your business. The size of your business and what your goals are should determine what kind of group to join.
- Organizations like YPO or WPO have specific criteria for members to join.
- Masterminds. You can find masterminds organized by different factors: industry, geography, business size, affinity groups, etc. These usually have regular meetings where business owners share what they are facing and other members can share support and suggestions.
- Make your own. Have a regular coffee meeting with a fellow business owner where you share your successes, shortcomings, and develop goals and areas of focus between then and the next meeting.
- Accelerators/Incubators. There are different organizations that support entrepreneurs. For instance, WeWork has partnered with Bunker Labs to provide a Veterans in Residence program. The Global Good Fund has programs for social entrepreneurs and veteran entrepreneurs.
- Join a Coworking space. Coworking spaces are all the rage these days, and with good reason. Your productivity goes up when you are around other people being productive. And being around other people combats loneliness! Many hold community events for its members and the public—a great way to meet fellow business owners in your area.
Be a champion for small business
While it is critical to get support, it is important to give support too.
- Share the story about your journey
- Mentor new business owners
- Invest in small businesses
- Start a support group!
- Shop there
- Like their social media posts
- Promote them
- Pay your small business vendors on time
- Keep disputes offline
While running a business is a journey no one can take for you, you certainly do not have to do it alone. See you out in the community!