Entrepreneurship is easier with a little help from your friends

The “American Dream” refers to the ability to create your own version of a successful life. For many people, that means the freedom to work for themselves.  Over 62% of millennials have considered starting their own business, with a majority feeling that startups and entrepreneurs fuel economic growth and innovation.1

The idea of setting your own schedule, answering only to yourself and determining your own future is certainly appealing. However, research shows that 7 out of 10 businesses fail within 10 years.2

Consider, though, what the 2 businesses that do succeed do differently. If you speak with business owners who beat the statistics, one key element they most likely have in common: developing a strong support network.

In business for yourself, not by yourself

Controlling your destiny and developing your own career path can be exciting, but challenging. What better way to face those challenges than with a little help from your friends? Finding support and building a personal advisory board will increase your chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur regardless of whether you start your own business or work independently as a contractor or freelancer.

There’s no question that, no matter what kind of business you’re in, there are decisions to be made every day. When you are your own boss the final decision is yours, but you can feel more confident about what you’re doing with a network of trustworthy advisors to guide you.

Entrepreneurship with less risk

Working with a team of supporters helps you avoid that “it’s lonely at the top” syndrome. Who you choose to be part of your advisory team depends in part on your business, but don’t necessarily need to be from your industry; some business decisions are fairly universal. Rather, focus on who you trust and who you think has a wise and practical approach to their business and their life.

Your advisors could be people you know from college or grad school or have met through your local Chamber of Commerce or a networking group. There are a variety of organizations that exist to support entrepreneurs, from the Freelancers Union to the National Federation of Independent Business to small-business networks supported by colleges and universities.

The value of mentorship

Whether you work for a big corporation, or are in business for yourself, seeking out and fostering a relationship with a mentor can be one of the most valuable tools you can leverage for success. A mentor can be someone with a similar career but isn’t a direct competitor, or it could be someone in the same industry who you admire, can offer you relevant advice and wants to see you succeed. For example, many financial professionals gather to compare notes, talk about their practice or emerging trends; even though they work in the same industry, they understand the value of sharing ideas and advice with their peers as a way to grow their business. Ask to meet with someone you see as successful in your industry to seek advice and learn.

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