When you are running a business, inspiration can come from almost anywhere. However, a few small business owners forget to use one of the most important tools laying at their fingertips… Your local community. In any town or city there will always be a community to connect with, and as an entrepreneur, you need this. There’s a community of small business owners, already established, and full of knowledge, right there where you live. There are entrepreneurs in your industry or niche, again, right there, locally. Often these communities become our inspiration, our friends, our partners, affiliates, collaborators and our emotional support. Even if they are not close friends, your community will listen, because they all need and want to know what you have to say. Your community will help you figure out what went wrong or what went right so that everyone learns from the experience.
Here are 5 benefits of having or joining a community for entrepreneurs:
1. Learning from each other’s mistakes: “Those who ignore history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them” – Napoleon Bonaparte. It’s an important function of your community of entrepreneurs to be aware of what is going on with each other’s businesses and really understand the complete story of what is happening. If you are paying attention you will be able to see some actions that others in the group are using that may or may not work for you. It is a great way to avoid some major pitfalls in the business world by giving you the direction to take, and the possibility of being able to use their adaptations for some great success maneuver in your own business. Listen and learn and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.
2. Exchanging tips of the trade: For any entrepreneur, just starting out is so exciting, but this time of beginnings can also be confusing. Having other people that have had some experience be there to give you tips and secrets that you can use helps tremendously. You will be able to start off smoothly and keep going strong when the times are tougher. While you can and should read about many tips online, nothing beats personal connection… understanding that the only real way to find out for sure what works for you is to try new ideas and information you get from your community and apply the suggestions in your own life and business. Exchanging tips of the trade will help you have a greater depth in your connections with people. In turn, you’ll give your tips to the group, and reciprocate the help that you have received.
3. Mentoring: More than just passing on tips. Your community is also a place where you can find and/or become a mentor. Fostering these kinds of relationships within a tight community of trusted entrepreneurs, you become a long standing partners and establish yourself with each other as a safe place to garner advice when you have a heavy decision to make. You each become a needed person for the other entrepreneurs that are there. This works because you’ve seen the value of mentorship in a one-on-one sense and then applied it to your tight-knit community.
4. Making connections: Networking is a skill that you will always need in business and in your personal life. If you don’t know how to do this naturally, learn about it. Making these connections within your community is the greatest reason the community is there. In your network of entrepreneurs you will find that, in time, you will know each other well enough that you can give them a reference if they need one and they will do the same for you. You can do favors for each other and help your entire community grow their businesses and get ahead.
5. Learning new business skills: A great action that can yield some forward thinking achievement in your community group is to learn new business skills together. One way to do this is to highlight the accomplishments of one or more members at your meetings. Your community can offer services and skill sets to make the lives of entrepreneurs easier!
Community is not just something you have to find,you can start your own entrepreneurial group, online or otherwise. There are no rules here, but the benefits will outweigh any hassle it may take to get your community started.
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