No man is an island and that certainly holds true for entrepreneurs. You should foster relationships and partnerships in your entrepreneurial endeavors to propel your business forward. No business owner can be all things to all people and most business owners focus on a core competency as a way to niche-market themselves. I’ve found, in my coaching business, that many people prefer to work with specialists rather than generalists.
Here are some ways you can grow your business if you grow your partnerships:
If you have a company that manufacturers products, look for a fulfillment partner so you can concentrate on the manufacture and hand off the fulfillment.
Do you run the show from overseeing the manufacturing to making sales presentations? Determine where your core competency lies and delegate the rest. Maybe you’d be better served to bring on a sales team or a sales person.
How are your products distributed? Do you need a sales person to help with distribution and perhaps find new channels?
Have you considered white labeling your products? Using your own product but licensing them and re-labeling them under another name? You see this a lot in the electronics industry.
Who is handling your marketing and promotions? Do you have a blog for your business? Are you interacting on social media to reach new clients? It might make sense to work with either a marketing and public relations firm and a blogger to help with the promotions of your product.
The same partnerships can be formed for those who provide services as well as those who provide products. Determine what you need, what you can delegate and find a partner.
Are you a middle manager? Are you looking for a way to move up the corporate ladder? Middle managers face unique challenges as they are navigating the corporate environment of appeasing clients and bosses and cultivating the talent of the team they supervise. How can you thrive in your position? Here are some ideas that middle management individuals will want to consider:
You need to always have a “leadership mindset.” What this means is that you need to be forward thinking and lead your team through example rather than micromanagement. Increase your influence by focusing on the people, rather than the tasks you are charged with.
Cultivate your communication skills. The nature of your work means you are literally in the middle — between your staff and upper level management — and you need to foster communication between all parties. Ensuring open lines of communication lends itself to moving projects forward, asking for resources and delegating. Work on clear communication to minimize miscommunication.
Coach those on your staff to help them develop their talents. Sure, they may develop their talents to a level where they can move up the ranks, and that only shines a light on you if you worked with them to develop and grow into a new position. If your staff rarely moves up into newer, higher level positions, you may need to look at your management style to see if you’re perhaps not encouraging growth.
Middle management isn’t the easy path to navigate as you’re faced with finite resources in both personnel and resources, but it’s up to you to make the most of them and let your light shine. What have you done in your middle management position to grow?
SSShhhh it’s a secret. Do you feel that way when you have a new business idea? That is it a secret that you simply can’t share or someone will “steal it”? That is the mind set that many entrepreneurs have and in most cases it’s not warranted. Granted, there have been those times in business when an idea can be “stolen” and someone takes your idea and runs with it before you’ve had a chance to implement it. That is unfortunate but for the most part here is what I believe to be true about ideas.
They are just ideas.
Unless I share the nitty gritty behind how I’d implement said idea, no one would come up with the same plan that I have. You may find that your idea, upon further evaluation and investigation, simply isn’t viable. I suggest that entrepreneurs don’t get too married to an idea in case they have to divorce it because it just isn’t viable. If, however you feel that someone has stolen your idea you need to ask yourself: how did they get access to it? Were they better equipped to do it? Why did they take the idea to market and I haven’t moved off of first base yet?
Talk about your ideas with those you trust.
If you have a mentor, business coach or mastermind group, run the idea past them. If all you hear are crickets, ask for feedback as to why they aren’t excited about it. If they say, “I’d like to hear more” you may be onto something. If you brainstorm the idea and get into some nitty gritty details you may find it’s more daunting than you imagined or it’s simply not doable at this time and may need to be put on the backburner. You may find it’s an idea that you need to partner with someone on to bring to fruition.
Remember, an idea is just words until action brings it to life.
“The customer is always right” is the mantra that those who work in customer service or retail always hear. Well, there are people that an entrepreneur should listen to when trying to grow a successful business and here are my top picks:
Your customer. They may not always be right, but they are your bread and butter and their opinions matter. Ask for feedback. Read reviews they post. Interact with them on social media.
Your staff. Your employees and outside contractors can be the lifeblood of your business and the first line of contact with a client. Ask them how things are going. What could be improved? What suggestions can the provide for doing a job better or more efficiently? They are in the trenches every day and might have valuable insight.
Your mentors. If you’re a part of a mastermind group, work with a coach or have a mentor, listen to their advice. Not all of it may be relevant for what you’re doing, but I’ll bet there are nuggets that will help you and answers to questions or situations you’re struggling with.
Are there people you don’t want to listen to? Of course there are. Those would be individuals who troll you on social media, family members or colleagues who don’t support your vision and even yourself on those days when you have doubts and get into negative self talk.
When did you last ask for feedback from a mentor, staff member or customer? Did you find information that surprised you? What did you do with it?