Many people become entrepreneurs because they’re attracted to the idea of being self-reliant. When you run your own business you’re beholden to no one, rely on no one but yourself. It means no one can force to do anything you don’t want to, and you can never be let down by anyone, as you have the ultimate authority. Any failures are, ultimately your own failures, which is intimidating, but you likewise get to own any successes yourself, with no risk you will have your contribution minimised by a manager hunting for glory at your expense.
If this is your attitude coming into the entrepreneurial ring, you’ll have to change it in short order. There’s no way you can do everything yourself. Quite apart from the fact that you’d need the days to be three times as long, quite simply, no one has the expertise to do everything. You need to learn how to collaborate, to share your successes and failures, lean on other people and have them lean on you.
Today we’re taking a look at some of key relationships you’ll need to develop to make a success of your own business.
You’re going to have to deal with a lot of other professionals, from marketers and lawyers to market research companies like Attest, accountants and consultants. This means a few different things, but the main one is that you’ll need to learn to accept other people’s authority.
If you hire a consultant to advise you on your business as it grows, you’ll get nothing out of the relationship unless you can accept that this person you’ve hired for their expertise actually has some expertise to impart. If you shut down every time their insight disagree with your first instincts for your company, you’re essentially wasting your money, so learn to listen.
Collaboration in business comes in many forms, from co-founders to financiers and board members. Even you have a long friendship stretching back years before you went into business together you might find a strain to work together, especially when the stakes are so high.
As with the professionals you hire, you need to respect the opinions and expertise of the people you’re collaborating with. Of course, if they happen not to have expertise in a particular area but still want to make a contribution, it can be tricky. Always listen, and if you disagree, fall back on data rather than opinion. You can argue all day about what you ‘feel’ to be right, but numbers are difficult to fall out with.