Yes yes, I know that the title is corny but that does not make it less true! If you think that going about this life of business and entrepreneurship is a loan wolf life, a one man war, a friendless future, or even a constant grind with no time for socialization then you are gravely mistaken. Helen Keller said it well, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”.
In the book by Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, he points out the many great parts of having a community and here are the ones that impacted my train of thought.
Partnerships are necessary for growth and a well rounded business. Scott Belsky wrote, “We all have strengths and weaknesses as creators, and we tend to assume that we are bound to work within those parameters”. As an individual that is true, but that is where our community and partnerships come in. According to Power of 2: How to Make the Most Out of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life ,“Before you can forge a successful alliance, you must understand what you bring to the combination, and equally important, what you don’t.” This requires a large amount of self awareness plus a layer of transparency.
Transparency is essential in all relationships but it is even more important with your community. How will they know how to help you? How can they provide you feedback? Will they know what you struggle with? These are reasons to be transparent because all of these are essential for our growth and our businesses to prosper. Transparency is integral for your community of consumers as well. A study by Label Insight says that 94% of consumers said they would buy from a transparent company far more often. Transparency is something we should be doing at all levels, so that we can receive help and people can trust us.
The final point that caught my eye and one that I struggle to practice is sharing my ideas liberally. Scott Belsky points out that we need to be doing this so we can get feedback, and also know if it is a good idea. In a previous article I wrote that 1% of a business is the idea and the remaining 99% is work. We assume that sharing our ideas means that someone will take them, but it seems far more likely that people would offer feedback in the form of ideas rather than put forth the work to actually make your ideas happen.
That thought process brought to mind the usual inspiration and drive to create our own businesses, passion. Clate Mask wrote, “Every successful small-business owner and entrepreneur must have a passion that drives them forward — a core belief that keeps them pressing on, even though others don’t necessarily have the same vision.”
With that in mind, we should be free to share our ideas because the people we share it with are either part of our community and we can trust them, or they do not have our passion or vision. Sharing our ideas liberally can do nothing but good for us and help us to create for others.
Surround yourself with a good community. They can make up for your weakness. Help you to be transparent. Give you feedback on your ideas as long as you are willing to share, and honestly just support you and be there for you all along the way. This entrepreneurship life does not have to be a sad and lonely path. Make it one you share with many!
- Gallup, Inc. “Why Partners Need Complementary Strengths.” Gallup.com, 13 Aug. 2009, news.gallup.com/businessjournal/122237/why-partners-need-complementary-strengths.aspx.
- Mask, Clate. “Passion, Freedom and Impact: The 3 Ingredients of Business Success.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 31 Jan. 2015, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240396
- Alton, Larry. “How Transparency Became a Top Priority for Businesses, and Why You Should Care.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 14 June 2017, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295739.
- Belsky, Scott. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles between Vision and Reality. Portfolio/Penguin, 2012.