1) Getting over the feeling of isolation, and engaging in too much unhealthy introspection and self-doubt;
2) Getting the help and advice you need for better decision making and growth;
Never underestimate the benefits, both psychological and strategic, of developing a support network. Two words? Friendly Support.
You will always need help and advice for your business, as you will for your life and professional career advancement. With growth and with forward momentum, your needs will actually increase; but then, you will have greater financial resources to barter for what you need, and a better-established network of tried-and-true support and resource providers to provide you with help and advice
If you are a smaller but rapidly-growing business, or a professional at the beginning of his or her career, there are many sources from which to choose -- the trick seems to be just how to ask for the advice or help that you need.
The resources can generally be found by doing a series of simple Google searches under a number of general search terms. A great number of these services are provided through various government agencies (at different levels...city, state, industrial district, province, national) at little or no cost. More of these can found by speaking with departments of commerce, business development offices, economic development offices, free trade zone administrations, embassies and consulates (especially for import or export ventures), and through participation and inquiries in a number of social media groups. There are often professional associations or societies which specialize in the type of guidance or resources which you need.
Some very valuable mentors, advisors, prospective directors, co-venturers and even investors can be found through properly-focused networking.
Once again, the issue is how to ask.
Here are some very general guidelines:
1. Before engaging in any discussions, prepare a list of exactly what types of help you need, and in what capacity;
2. Try to make inroads to sources of advice and help before your situation becomes urgent.
3. Be extraordinarily polite, straightforward and honest about exactly what your needs are. Show your appreciation and gratitude for the time that any prosective advisor or helper is prepared to spend with you. Personalized thank you notes (via email, with your communication coordinates, company name, and a brief reference to the nature of your company's business included).
4. Choose your words with diplomatic precision when asking. It is far better to say "I know that a person with your background and in your position must be extraordinarily busy, but I'd be very grateful if you would lend me some of your expert insights into ... If this time is inconvenient, please let me know when I may call you so as not to disrupt your day...," than "We need somebody who...".
5. Do a thorough Google search on the person with whom you will be speaking so that you can show that you took the time to learn about his or her education, experience, expertise and achievments. People are flattered (unless they are in the Federal Witness Protection Program) to learn that you cared enough to invest some of your time getting to know about them;
6. Be prepared with an executive summary, a comprehensive bio, or a PowerPoint business profile which you can easily attach to an email and send to the persons with whom you speak. If you host these on a fileserver, provide a live hyperlink so that your newly-discovered ally may easily download them. Show that you are organized, prepared, enthused and likely to succeed in your efforts;
7. Take a brief period of time to interview your newly-developed contact -- to ask questions about his or her life's experience. People love to talk about themselves (with the exception of those suffering from catatonia and those working as undercover crimefighters). Be patient. Listen. Learn. Give sincere praise. Show admiration.
8. Always follow-up with these important Human Assets to let them know that you are taking their advice and that you are putting their suggestions into play. It will please them to know that A) you've taken them seriously, and B) that you are responsible and respectful enough to report to them.
If you are prepared, polite and demonstrate some humility, these people will quite often go out of their way just to be extra helpful.
Start Googling for the resources that you need. And use the telephone to establish contact at first. If they are too busy or unavailable, follow-up with an email inquiring as to their avialability, being certain to mention that you had first tried to reach them by telephone directly.
Douglas E Castle
- CNN Student News Offers Students Job Hunting Advice (freetech4teachers.com)
- Top 10 Alternative Ways to Search Google (bjconquest.com)
- Career Advice Tuesday - A Conference First Timer's Guide (Part I) (infosecleaders.com)
- The best career advice I have... (timesunion.com)
- Career Advice Wednesday (oops): Getting Off the Horse (infosecleaders.com)
- Why Doing What You Love Is the Worst Career Advice (5min.com)
- 10 Amazing Google Search Tips To Help You Find What You're Looking For (businessinsider.com)
- Education Requirements For A Sales Career (businessinsider.com)
- Make the Most of Your Small Business (outofoffice.fedex.mediacdt.com)
- Gettin' to Know GetListed.org (seomoz.org)
- Google Calls on Graduates to Promote Apps in Their Workplace (pcworld.com)
- What Advice Would You Give Young Entrepreneurs? (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- Is the Internet a Good Source for Project Management Newbies? (brighthub.com)
- 57 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed (mashable.com)
- Five pieces of advice for aspiring restaurateurs (theglobeandmail.com)
- SCORE: Counseling and Resources for Small Business Owners (brighthub.com)
- About Starting a Small Business (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- The New World versus the Old World: Are You Being Left Behind? (dumblittleman.com)
- Google: Growth, And CEO Page's Turnaround, Spike Estimates, Price Targets (blogs.barrons.com)
- Death by PowerPoint? More like suicide. (kulturnytech.com)
- Leadership And Mentoring: Dangerous Businesses And Tough Love. (aboutdouglascastle.blogspot.com)
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