Having A Supportive Tribe Saves Lives...
By Charron Monaye
Having a supportive network as an entrepreneur is key. It’s also the anchor to your business growing and developing. But, this can be one of the hardest things to come by. Why? Because either people are afraid you’ll surpass them or they are not really cheering for your success. In addition, some people can’t support you in public because of how they disrespected you behind closed doors. So, finding genuine people with no hidden motives to support you is the hardest task you will have during this journey. And that’s just for the entrepreneur side. We’re not going to talk about the support of employees, because you already know coworkers and bitter supervisors will set you up and throw you all the way under the bus. The bright side, though, is there are people out there who believe in you. You just have to connect with them, but remember to be honest in your approach and request.
Throughout my journey, I have run across some people who supported me for free, while others attached a price tag to their support. However, no one has supported me through this journey more than my children and mother. It was my mother who saw the potential in my writing; she told me at the age of fourteen that writing was my gift after hearing me recite my poem, “Alone”, at a UNCF telethon banquet. When I decided to go to Atlanta to meet Kandi and then fly to Los Angeles for the songwriter’s conference, she gave her blessing. She has every book I’ve ever written, been to every play, and listened to every complaint I had about this business. At times, she was mom, girlfriend, counselor, and babysitter. What amazed me the most was that she wasn’t always 100% sold on a lot of my moves. Still, even with her questions and concerns, she never said “STOP” or told me to give up. And for that I am so grateful! Even when I wanted to quit, she motivated me to keep pushing. That kind of support was my cushion to bounce back after every fall. Along with her, I have my children, Chris and Craig. Now Chris, my oldest, grew up in this business. He was six years old when I started this journey and went to a majority of the book signings, literary events, and conferences that I attended. He was there passing out my flyers, showing people my books, and telling everyone who would listen just how great I was. We sold out of books at some signings that we did simply because he was pitching like his life depended on it. Even though it didn’t, he knew how disappointed I would be if I had to take any boxes of books back home with us.
In addition to the support I receive from my mother and children, I have the support of friends, Facebook friends who I have never met, and of course, my coaches. My work ethic and seriousness about this entrepreneur journey has made people recognize my business and extend a helping hand. Facebook is where I’ve found my biggest support. No, not every supporter will buy my products or services, but the nature of my needs is not always monetary. So how do you gain support for your business? These are some tips that have been helpful for me:
Focus on the right people. Some people mess up by trying to connect to everyone. They attend every event, take everyone’s business cards, and befriend anybody on social media. Then they’re not sure who is who and how to leverage the connection. One of the things I do before connecting with anyone is do a Google search on them to find out who they are and how we can help each other. You have to know who you are meeting.
Create win-win situations. In my last example, I said I do a Google search on them to find out who they are and how we can help each other. Never seek out a support person or network where you are the only person winning. When it comes to any relationship in life, whether business or personal, there must be give and take, but everyone must win in the end.
Be clear on your support needs. The most ineffective thing you can do when building support is not knowing what you need.
Use social networks. For me, social media has been a lifesaver. Between the connections I’ve made and the groups that I belong to, there is always someone genuine that can offer support. You can ask a question in a group and get fifty answers. Not only did they make it easy for you, but they gave you practices that they know work. In my opinion, experience and life lessons are the best teachers.
Don’t be too busy that you don’t attend networking events. I don’t know what makes people think they are so good at what they do that they don’t have to socialize, network, or connect with people. I know you live a crazy life, whether married with kids or broke and alone, but if no one knows you, how can they support you? Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? Networking can be the difference between you getting an opportunity from someone that otherwise wouldn’t have given you the time of day and someone walking past you at an event and ignoring your advances.
Volunteer. You will be surprised how much support you can gain by volunteering your time and services for the betterment of your community and society. You have to know when to give back. Service is big when it comes to finding support and being supported. Having a successful business is not enough! Nobody cares that you are the founder of a profitable business if you aren’t giving back in some way. If you noticed, a majority of millionaires and billionaires donate their time and money to many humanitarian efforts.
Trust Me... If you take this advice and apply it, you will not only build the right network but your business will grow as well.