In every aspect of life we have someone or a group of someones who is always there for us; they support us, they cheer us on, they lift us up, they give us guidance, and in some cases they take the leap with us. Those individuals are our family, friends, co-workers, classmates, teammates – the list goes on and on. The point is that they exist. Sometimes without us even realizing it these individuals play a part in our success.
The thought of going at it alone is scary, and it’s even scarier when you consider starting a business alone. But are we ever really alone? I don’t think we are. Even if you’re a soleprenuer, you still have a support team around you. It could be your accountant who helps keep the books in order and on occasion shares some solid knowledge on how to increase your profits. It could be your girlfriend who has a degree in marketing and is always game for planning a lunch date/strategy session on how to grow your business. Or maybe it’s another local entrepreneur who you partner with when a really big project comes in and you need extra resources. Better yet, maybe it’s a social media group you visit and post to regularly to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs. And don’t forget the people who always ask, “How’s Business?” followed by “We’re so proud of you.” – those are the ones who will always have your back. I give mad props to entrepreneurs who have decided to go at it alone and who have gained success and prosperity without the help of anyone else. But I still ask, can you truly say that? If you took a minute to look back are you sure there isn’t one single person who supported you, who played a part?
The truth is this, teamwork makes the dream work! I imagined at a young age that starting a business would be my future, but the idea of starting a business by myself never crossed my mind. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses. And it’s not to say that I would have failed had I decided to go it alone, that we’ll never know. But I can say with all honesty, I wouldn’t not have been as successful. I know that not everyone who has gone into business with a partner or team of partners has been successful. There are plenty of stories out there about what went wrong and why you should never have an odd number of partners or why you should never split the profits evenly, etc., etc. What it all really comes down to is truly knowing who you’re going into business with and laying out all the groundwork for your operations before ever signing on the dotted line. I was fortunate in so many ways to find a business partner who shares my values and ambition. But I also found someone who was different than me. We play equal parts in running the business, but our skill sets contrast. This is what makes our business run. You shouldn’t necessarily be looking for someone who is just like you or who is completely opposite of you. Find a partner who compliments you.
Never underestimate the value of a team, even if that “team” isn’t someone who works in the office with you 5 days a week. Build a community around you, lean on them when times are tough, seek out their advice when business is daunting, gain their perspective when fresh ideas are hard to come by, and always tell them thank you. You never know when you’ll need their help or if they’ll be there to answer. But know this, they will continue to support you if you support them. That is the definition of teamwork.