Thursday, February 7, 2008

Taking Care of You: Surround Yourself with Supporters



(copyright for the above image belongs to Despair, Inc.)

Along the start-up path (and throughout life, really) you will encounter a variety of people. I’ve written about how helpful and supportive strangers, acquaintances and friends have been so far in encouraging my business’s start up (see "Don't Do It Alone When You Go It Alone"). But what about the others?

Not everyone is as helpful as they appear/claim/hope to be.

From vendors who supply a product you need—but they don’t pursue your account and take forever to answer your requests for information—to unresponsive or underperforming service providers with whom you contract, not everyone is able to give you and your business a hand up.

Some people actually bring you down.

One woman I met recently talked about how unsupportive her friends were during her business’s initial start-up. It’s not that they didn’t want her to succeed, they were just immature and more interested in partying than sitting and listening to their ambitious, precocious peer lament her start-up woes.

A friend of mine felt that she lost weeks of time moving her small business forward when a sales rep from a packaging supply company was dragging her feet in getting answers to her.

“I learned who I don’t want to do business with,” she told me. “It was just as important a lesson as finding out who I do want to give my business to.”

And she’s right.

Like the Will Rogers quip, we can learn from everyone. Only some people teach us what we don’t want and how we don’t want our business to run.

One of my business mentors told me once that a critical element of nurturing yourself as a CEO and entrepreneur is to surround yourself with supporters. While realistic and honest feedback is essential, people who drag you down emotionally, discourage you, or otherwise leave you feeling "icky"are toxic. They drain your confidence and hold you back.

If there are vendors who require you to do more than your share of the work, ask yourself, what I am paying for? Cut your losses and find someone you can work better with.

If your friends aren't able to take the time to listen to you, or you feel less excited about your business efforts AFTER you speak with them, then stop talking with them about it. Connect with a group of entrepreneurs or sole proprietors who can offer true support and encouragement.

If a supplier is unresponsive to your requests, find someone else who can provide the resource you need. You don't have time to waste on them! One of their competitors will be happy to prove to you that their service is the better choice.

Even people can be dusty widgets that you have to ditch to move forward toward achieving your goals. Take a look at your energy drains and then take measures to replace them with positive influences instead. It makes a world of difference!

1 comment:

Juicy Jenn said...

Thank you for some great tips! Im going to send your blog to a friend of mine who is in the throws of starting a new business...Diana over at Modern Mama's. Hope she comes in and accesses your information. And best of fortune to you!