I hear it all the time. “What should I do about . . .?” As a business owner you’re faced with the daunting task of making all the decisions that affect your business. Should I remain a sole proprietor, become an LLC or is an S Corp better? Should I start using an electronic PDA or stick with my trusty, but out-dated, Day Runner? In what direction should I take my marketing? Is the color right on this logo? PC or Mac? Paper or plastic? Aargh! Big decisions. Little decisions. It can be overwhelming, especially when you consider how each decision has a bearing on the success of your business.
It can be difficult to make decisions for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s a matter of not having enough information. Other times, it’s simply a lack of confidence. If you’re a very small business or solopreneur, chances are you work alone most of the time. The upside to your solitary confinement is two fold. First, you hold all the power and control to make the business your own. Second, the success or failure of your dream is squarely in your hands. Paradoxically, the fact that it’s just you calling the shots is also the dreaded downside of the micropreneur lifestyle.
Agonizing over decisions or constantly second-guessing yourself is a tremendous waste of energy. Energy you probably can’t afford to spare. How do you know when you’ve spent too long on a decision? It’s hard to say exactly, but if you catch yourself ruminating over you options longer than a couple of days, be suspicious. Or, if it’s 2:00 a.m., and you’re wide awake questioning a course of action, there’s a good chance you may be temporarily – if not permanently – decision-impaired.
When I occasionally find myself in just such a non-productive loop, I’m grateful when I finally remember to ask for help. After a diligent, but debilitating drag through decision darkness, getting someone else’s input is the radiant ray of sunlight that nurtures my soul. My world brightens. My heart lightens. And I realize the light at the end of the self-employment tunnel is not a freight train about to make mince-meat of my professional future, but instead, is a friendly, familiar, fellow professional wielding a torch to help guide me home.
It’s also in those moments that I congratulate myself for having had the wherewithal and initiative to create an entrepreneur dream team for myself. This is my personal and professional circle of friends, colleagues, cohorts and fellow entrepreneurs who’s advice, support and opinions are just a mere phone call, email message or short drive away.
Take my advice here. Create your own entrepreneur dream team. Would you rather have a well-known and trusted advisor at your fingertips or thumb through the yellow pages and pick someone you’ve never met and know nothing about.
Building your dream team is easy. It’s simply a collection of people you know and trust. To get started, make a list of the professional services you’ve needed in the past or anticipate needing in the course of doing business. For example, a lawyer and accountant are staple members of your team.
Next, think about all the possible people you’d trust to help you solve a problem. Not only do you want these people to care about you and your success, but you also want people who can be objective and act as a sounding board when you request it. Think about different people for different categories of problems. For example, someone who’s good with personal issues might be different than someone who’s good at helping you process systems questions.
Once you’ve made a list of your potential dream team members, contact each individual, and ask them to be a member of your team. For the professional candidates, such as lawyers or accountants, make an appointment for an initial consultation. Introduce yourself, and establish the relationship so when you need to access their services you’ll both be up to speed and ready to engage.
For the non-professional people on your list, invite them to participate on your team as an advisor. Let them know what type of support you may be needing from them, and if they’re willing to participate, find out the best way to access them when needed. Should you just phone them, email them, drop by their home or meet at the local coffee shop? Bring intention to the relationship, and set boundaries to support the success of the alliance. In my experience, people like to be asked for support, guidance and opinions. It feels good to know someone trusts and respects you enough to ask for help.
Finally, when you’ve chosen your team members and they’ve agreed to participate, compile a list with everyone’s contact information, and post it where it’s easily accessible. Make it easy to use your team. Let it pull you forward out of solopreneur solitude and into the bright, beautiful world of human connection and synergistic success. It sure beats losing sleep.
It’s YOUR life…live it completely!