In my last post I discussed the importance of building and managing teams to help accelerate the progress of your business. This week I was reminded of one of the type of team members that is often overlooked by entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Earlier in the week, one of my clients had a ‘crisis of confidence’ about their business (don’t worry, I’m not talking out of school here; at the end of the week, the client suggested this topic for my blog).
What they needed was someone who would a) listen to why they were feeling the way they were; b) empathize with their situation; c) point out all the positives about their current business situation, and d) help them move past this crisis. We all need outlets to release pent-up negative emotions.
Having at least one person with whom you can let your guard down and be totally emotionally naked about what is going on with your business is a team role that is often overlooked by many business owners. (When you read the title of this post did you think I meant physically naked? Really?)
Often, business owners rely on a spouse or other close family member to fill this role. This can work if the individual has some investment in and understanding of the business (i.e., other than just being a family member or just part of your ‘personal life’ team).
It is better if the individual has experience starting and running a business, as it makes it easier for them to understand and empathize with what you are feeling. One of the common causes of the entrepreneur’s crisis of confidence is the feeling that things aren’t progressing as quickly as the entrepreneur would like. When this happens, it is good to have someone who has been through it before and can, from experience, point out that the entrepreneur may be suffering from unrealistic expectations.
While not a part of my services that I discuss in my marketing, I can’t do what I do without, at some point in my relationship with my clients, acting as an advisor and/or mentor – and, yes, sometimes this includes being a friend to rant about the world to, or even a ‘shoulder to cry on’. One of the stories I often use in these situations is the ‘three feet from gold’ story told by Napoleon Hill in his book, “Think and Grow Rich” – if you don’t know it, its about a miner who gives up and sells his gold mine when he was only three feet from a rich vein of gold.
Who do you have on your teams that can provide this type of soft skill support; or are your team members there purely for their hard skills?