Set Up Your Personal Board of Directors
When you start your own business it can be lonely and frustrating. You have a huge to-do list and it feels like a big mountain to climb.
Being self employed or setting up a new business can feel very isolating. Getting support is hugely important. Your local Business Link can help with networking events and relevant training opportunities. A business coach can work with you on developing and building your business too. Some entrepreneurs also find it really useful to set up a group which meets regularly to focus on their coaching business. This group can be your own Personal Board of Directors.
This is how it works:
You think of people you know who are successful or who have great contacts or who are expert in some area that is relevant to you. For example: accountant, small-business owner, marketing person, journalist, website designer, business coach. Ideally you want people you know and like – and who are enthusiastic about your business idea! Talk to each person individually about your business first to check out if they fancy being on your board. Next, invite them all to meet up informally in a quite pub or cafe. Or if you like cooking, invite them to your house for a meal. Explain to the group where you’re at with your business plan and ask them for their ideas.
Do they have any suggestions for improving your business or business ideas?
Is there any way they would like to help?
How do they suggest you promote your service or products?
Can they suggest any good contacts?
Health and Well Being Coach, Carol decided to set up her own personal council very early in her business. Her vision included creating a chain of high end health spas. She invited a personal trainer, a chief executive of a local authority, a G.P, an independent financial adviser and a PR professional. They were all business contracts or friends of friends and they met monthly at Carol’s home for the first six months. Each month they focused on a different aspect of Carol’s business and she got loads of ideas and new contacts and felt very energized by the whole process. She provided food and drink and snacks during the hour-long meeting.
It was agreed to keep the meetings short and focused. Sometimes some of the group stayed around longer to chat with each other, after the business was complete. After six months Carol's group met quarterly for a year and occasionally thereafter. They enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and to meet people outside their own network.
I have found that people are often flattered and find it exciting to meet up with people from different worlds and to brainstorm ideas. It is creative process and is win-win all round. You can decide with your group how often you want to meet up. Every couple of months works well.
Go on, take a deep breath and give those contacts a call!