Surrounding yourself with people who value your success
At some point, you will face challenges in your personal and professional life simultaneously. It’s inevitable. And when your personal and professional life are intertwined, as they are for so many of us, it becomes nearly impossible to separate the two. And guess what? When you’re dealing with a crisis, you don’t have to. As a mother, entrepreneur, and Yahoo Small Business advisor, I have faced many obstacles and learned that you don’t have to go it alone. In fact, you shouldn’t even try.
It’s important to build real, authentic connections with those around you – including clients and customers when possible – and form a strong, mutually-beneficial support system. Having honest conversations with others is the first step in building meaningful relationships and can significantly impact how well you’re able to support and relate to your clients and network.
Surround yourself with people who value your success
Growing up, my parents taught me what it meant to be an entrepreneur, which led to my career as a business owner and enabled me to advise my friends on their small business endeavors. While in school, I worked at a startup tech company and was fortunate enough to have a mentor invested in my success and willing to guide me throughout my career. She showed me what it was like to surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and who will help empower your success, which ultimately led me to become a small business advisor.
This is one of the keys to entrepreneurial success: find mentors and establish a community that uplifts and encourages you through triumphs and setbacks. As a business co-owner, I look to other entrepreneurs (such as my parents) for advice and council, and as a Yahoo Small Business advisor I’m able to share that knowledge and advice with others to help overcome their obstacles.
Having honest conversations
Throughout my time as a small business advisor and entrepreneur I’ve learned the importance of having real, honest conversations with those around me. By learning my clients’ stories, and sharing my story with them, we’ve created a tight-knit community of authentic, reliable connections, and a network to help empower one another to share our voices, ideas, advice and stories.
Building these connections through open conversations, I learned more than I otherwise would have about how I could best support my clients and their business and professional growth, which has in turn made me a better and more effective business advisor.
Being honest with yourself
In addition to being open and honest with others, it is equally important to be honest with yourself. The more time I spent as an entrepreneur and business co-owner, the more I realized I needed to focus on what made my business uniquely mine. I learned that I needed to focus on my strengths and areas of expertise, and not get hung up with, or bogged down by, the parts of business management that were outside my purview. I learned that it’s okay to take a step back and say, “I need to focus on perfecting my craft, following my passion and prioritizing what makes this business mine, so I shouldn’t be afraid to outsource to a professional company or bring in a specialist.”
Outsourcing or working with a partner company can significantly impact your bottom line. If you have a passion that you’d like to turn into a business initiative but don’t know where to start, bringing on a company to help create a business plan is a strategic move. As another example, most people aren’t tech savvy right from the start. Working with a partner tech company is key to helping with important aspects of running a successful small business, including developing and managing a professional website. These are just two of the many areas of business development and maintenance that can be improved and streamlined by working with a partner company.
Where do we go from here?
All entrepreneurs and small business owners will face obstacles throughout their business journey, but no one should try to face these obstacles alone. There are several keys to small business success, including establishing a community to provide support, encouragement and advice through successes and setbacks. Partnering with a professional company to help supplement your skillset and complement your business is key to successful business growth and management. Overall, it’s important to follow your passion and be uniquely – and authentically – you.
As a senior business advisor at Yahoo Small Business, Maria Melo has been working with new and established e-commerce merchants for over 20 years to help them grow their businesses. Maria has also spent over 14 years working with her family in their brick and mortar retail store and is part owner of her own retail wine shop with her brother and sister.