Recently I read an article on Forbes.com. “Five reasons 8 out of 10 Businesses fail”
(click here if you want to read the article http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/)
According to the author, lack of dialogue with the clients is the #1 reason many businesses fail.
It got me thinking.
It got me looking at my experience.
Not only the lack of customers´ feedback harms your business.
Lack of feedback in ANY area of your business will ruin you.
Why do I say that?
There are many entrepreneurs failing at creating the right feedback system for their business.
Either there is no feedback system at all, or entrepreneurs seek their inputs from inappropriate sources.
I´d like to widen the concept of feedback. Let´s say people who give you feedback support your business.
Here are 2 syndromes I have noticed when we seek support for our business:
1) The “famstermind-syndrome”.
Which is when you constantly misuse your family and friends for business support.
They become your strategic partners, product testers.
Worst, they are your ONLY customers…etc.
There is no shame involving your family and friends. Especially if they have the competence AND the willingness to support you.
But if they don´t, you are making a huge mistake.
Family and friends are emotional supporters.
By choosing them as only frame of reference for your business support, you will ruin not only your business but also your relationship with them.
2) The “No financial investment-syndrome”
You are waiting for your business to bring money before you can invest in it.
This is a typical entrepreneurial misconception.
Your business growth is a direct reflection of what you have invested in it. Not only the time and energy, but also the money you invest will be crucial.
If you are only after free business support, then you get the picture.
Your financial success will reflect your freebie-mentality.
Here is my personal story about that. This story strongly connects to how I might be supporting you soon.
If you are in a hurry, jump straight to the end!
THE SHOCK OF MY BUSINESS LIFE
It was a few months after I started my business.
It was just me, myself and I.
Riding as a solo entrepreneur, I had no more colleagues to exchange with.
Only family and friends to discuss my business topics with.
Endless hours talking about my next steps.
Endless invitations to try my next service.
In fact, I did not just talk about my business. I expected feedback. I would forcefully want my relatives to tell me what they thought.
The shocking realization was that they COULD NOT HELP ME.
Here is why:
– Most of my friends back then where still in the corporate environment. They did not understand entrepreneurial challenges.
– I come from an entrepreneurial and very supportive family. They suggested I come back to Benin and take over my parents companies (they are struggling with a very serious entrepreneurial issue: SUCCESSION). We would clearly not come to an agreement.
– My husband is an extremely good listener. Even he ended up tired of being misused as mastermind buddy. One day it escalated and we had a huge fight.
So what the hell was I going to do?
HELP ALWAYS COMES TO THE CREATIVE ONES:-)
At the time, I had a coach (like I do most of the time).
I assumed that working with a coach, would provide all the support I needed.
Little did I know back then about the different levels of support.
One-on-one coaching is an important part of the business support I need.
But there seemed to be other layers I did not cover then.
I was to realize the following: it is crucial to figure out the right business support for every stage of your growth.
THE RIGHT BUSINESS SUPPORT
My search for dialogue with like-minded female entrepreneurs gave birth to my first female entrepreneurs community. I had a vision to bring women together to help each other. Today that community counts about 700 members.
Quickly enough, I was faced with the second shock.
My growing female entrepreneurs community was just another layer of the support I needed.
The focus of my one-on-one coaching was to work on my inner bullshit in order to create a business that I love.
The focus of my female entrepreneur´s community was on sharing the entrepreneurial journey with like-minded.
You get a sense of belonging in such a big community.
However, the attention to the individual´s success is low. Most people are looking at doors to knock at.
Overtime I was longing for a support system where I was in a group AND still could get input tailored to my individual’s needs.
That was the birth of my mastermind groups.
You can envision them as small success teams for female entrepreneurs.
We come together with the only goal of helping each other grow our businesses.
The feedback has been fantastic so far.
MY OFFER TO YOU
I’ve been privileged to be part of small groups of powerful female entrepreneurs that includes designers, fashionist, film makers, coaches, teachers, bloggers, …etc
These women have challenged me to my edge over the past years. They’ve believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Such a small group of female entrepreneurs is waiting to help you win too!
We want to challenge you to your edge!
And we want to hold you in the air and celebrate YOU when you make it!!!!
Just what you need right now? Drop me a message and ask for your new „business buddies“.
NOW It´s YOUR TURN
What support systems have you implemented to sustain your business growth so far?
Final Note: In this article, I have focused on getting support related to your business strategy.
Another form of support consists in delegating everything possible so that you focus on doing what you can do best.
We will get deeper into that in another post.