Monday, September 6, 2010

Going It Alone

Over the last few months, I've spent a lot of time working with friends who are starting businesses. In many ways, I've been conducting individualized, hands-on MBA programs in eight-weeks or less. As I've talked with folks and helped them to think through their businesses, I've found myself covering the same material repeatedly. Further, much of the research that each of them is doing is largely redundant with that of the others: whether or not to incorporate, how to incorporate, where to incorporate, W2 or 1099, regulatory rules and regulations, URLs, website hosting, financial modeling, etc.

The other day, I mentioned to one friend that she really ought to get together with another, share what they're doing, and then divide some of the research between them. They would each benefit from the other's insights. They would each have less work to do while getting more accomplished. They would even save my time by sharing with each other the things we had discussed one-on-one.

As I considered this, I thought back to the first time I started a new business. I'd left my job and was working fulltime on my business plan. I started to connect with colleagues from former jobs who were themselves working on or considering starting businesses. We established an informal club of would-be CEO's, regularly sharing what we had learned, circulating our latest and greatest plans for review and feedback, and finding support when we hit what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles. It wasn't a large group (just five or six) and we never all got together at the same time in the same place. We'd just meet for coffee or talk on the phone sharing, critiquing, sparring and encouraging.

It made a huge difference.

Going It Alone
There are many of us who go it alone. We may be surrounded by family or friends or supporters, but we're not surrounded by peers, others who are trying to do the same kinds of things that we're trying to do. Sometimes we go it alone because it simply never occurs to us that there's another way. Sometimes we do it because we don't want others to see our mistakes along the way, sharing only the polished, finished product. Sometimes we do it to protect our work and ideas. Sometimes, we can't think of others who might be doing the same thing (usually because we haven't actually tried yet).

However, going it alone is completely unnecessary and the benefits of sharing are profound. It's amazing how differently conversations go when sharing with like-minded people shooting at similar targets: talking with writers about writing, sharing music with musicians, reviewing technique with other runners, refining business plans with other entrepreneurs.

Where are you going it alone? I know that you may have people around to help you (supporters, friends and family), but are there people in your life whom you would consider to be peers in your endeavor? How would your life change if you filled it with like-minded people addressing similar challenges? People walking paths parallel to your own? Perhaps the day has come to reach out and establish your own club of would-be-challenge-overcomers.

Happy Labor-free Monday!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Read, smile, think and post a message to let us know how this article inspired you...