Business Why the most successful entrepreneurs don't go it alone

Why the most successful entrepreneurs don’t go it alone

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Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

Over the past few months I have been deeply involved in the Goldman Sachs 10k small businesses (10KSB) acceleration program. In association with Babson CollegeGoldman Sachs has developed an in-depth curriculum that requires small business owners, or “scholars,” as we are called throughout the program, to thoroughly review every aspect of our businesses and our leadership styles.

Goldman Sachs developed this program with the belief that small businesses are the economic engine of the US economy and that the stronger those companies are, the stronger and more resilient the US economy will be. This is especially important today as we face tremendous economic uncertainty.

The curriculum of the program was demanding and required a significant time commitment. The result was a comprehensive 70-page business plan. The business plan was tangible proof that my fellow students and I have completed the program and delved into the core of our business. We each identified a “growth opportunity” and made a detailed plan to seize that opportunity.

Related: Going into business alone? 5 reasons why that’s a really bad idea

But to be clear, the plan was not strictly a result of the program curriculum. It was also a result of the invaluable network of hundreds of small businesses from every state across the union in my Goldman Sachs cohort and the alumni of the more than 13,000 small business owners that now make up my community.

Today, as I sit at my computer and go through my company’s daily, weekly, and monthly financial reports, it’s becoming increasingly clear that I can’t do this alone. Like business leaders everywhere, I worry about the realities of the economy, the supply chain, access to capital, and all the myriad factors impacting my business that are beyond my control. The one fact that is crystal clear to me is that as small business owners we need to join forces.

There is power in numbers. Small businesses thrive when we work together and take advantage of each other’s strengths. Diverting focus from our core business to spend time on our own internal business process is costly and a waste of time. This point was emphasized over and over during the nine months I was on the program.

If marketing isn’t your core business, find and hire a small company that specializes in the type of marketing you need to get the message across to your customers. Hire those services you need from another small company so you can focus. If distribution is not your core business, find and hire a company that specializes in logistics. And the list goes on and on. If we deliberately look for other small businesses to provide the services we need so we can focus, we can find just about anything.

Related: Follow your entrepreneurial path, but don’t go it alone

Spending money is one of the most terrifying things for a small business owner. Like many of you, I’m looking at the bank account and thinking I can’t afford to hire an outside service to do this. I do it myself and save money. Here’s the problem, how much time and effort am I wasting learning something new? What is my time worth? What if I could spend my time on what I’m good at, on my core business competence? Could that pay for the extra cost of a service?

I have been forced to look at my business in a new way. It’s not like I suddenly realized I had better cash flow and could outsource things. I didn’t, and I can’t. But it costs money and lost opportunities when my key employees or I spend time on things outside of our immediate business and improve our offering.

I’ll give you a perfect example. I have years of experience in marketing, but marketing is not my core business today. I run an e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses. The last thing I thought I had to spend money on was marketing. I’ve been doing it for years and know how to identify my target audience and which channels to use to reach them. I have actively resisted pressure from my team to hire marketing services. What I didn’t factor in is how much time my co-founder and I spent on marketing execution instead of focusing on building our sales platform.

Related: Entrepreneurs, you can’t handle everything in your startup

My core business is NOT marketing execution, so why do we have one of the most valuable members of the team dedicating hours a week to it? We need to find a small company whose specific activity is marketing execution for direct-to-consumer companies like mine and labor power them. I’m confident that if I give my co-founder time to focus on building our core offering, we can afford the cost of outsourced marketing execution.

The bottom line is that as small business owners, we can’t do it alone. As economic uncertainty continues, capital becomes more difficult to access, and consumers spend less, it’s best to surround my company with experts focused on how we can grow and invest back into our communities.

Small businesses have long been the growth engine of the US economy; for this to continue, we need to fuel economic stability and growth by investing and supporting each other. I am fortunate to have been able to participate in an accelerator program that has jump-started my network. But there are many places where small businesses can and should connect. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource, as are the Small Business Administration and industry affinity groups with chapters nationwide.

We can’t do it alone! And the good news is we don’t have to. Find a small business expert so you can focus on your core business and grow!

Shreya Christinahttp://ukbusinessupdates.com
Shreya has been with ukbusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider ukbusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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