When you own a business, you quickly start wearing many hats. Whether you’ve had experience running a business before or not, each business has its own set of challenges and goals, making it a unique endeavor. And, understandably, you can’t be an expert on everything.
Around half of small businesses fail within the first five years, adding even more pressure to get things right. Every business owner will run up against issues where asking for help would be beneficial.
From mentors and outsourcing to networking with other business owners, there’s plenty of help available. But seeking it out? That’s another matter.
It can feel embarrassing or even shameful to admit that you might need help with any part of your business but it’s important to overcome this feeling. No business succeeds on the efforts of one person alone.
Keep reading to find out how you can not only overcome the shame of asking for help, but the best ways to get that help and thrive.
The Reality of Being a Business Owner
With more than 73% of SME business owners feeling lonely in their work, it’s time to recognize that needing help is universal. You most likely have a specific skill set that has got you to where you are today, but it’s impossible to know everything about running a business.
When you take on everything yourself, you can’t be as efficient as possible. Running a business will always be a learning process but there are challenges where outsourcing or asking for advice is a much better use of your time.
Identify the Source of Shame
If you feel embarrassed or ashamed about needing help or advice, it’s important to identify where that feeling comes from. Do you feel as though you should know everything already? Do you feel that successful business owners should do everything themselves?
If you do, think it through and you’ll soon see that this isn’t realistic. Successful business owners focus on their own skills and take advantage of other experts to help them get to where they want their business to be.
Every business owner will be familiar with feeling overwhelmed and ill-experienced at some point. Imposter syndrome, where you feel as though you’re not good enough and will be found out, is very common in high-achievers.
You might feel ashamed at having to ask for help but it’s important to recognize that you’re not incapable. Instead, you’re using your time and skills efficiently by reaching out.
No one you reach out to will think lesser of you. In fact, they may well feel complimented.
Seek Support from the Right Places
There are many places you can go to find help and advice, depending on what challenges you face. Sometimes, all you might need is the company of other business owners. Other times, you may need professional business support in an area that is not your expertise.
Networking can be good for finding new sources of business but it’s much more than that. Networking gives business people an invaluable chance to meet others, discuss their businesses, and share tips and advice.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed when attending networking events but if you do, understand that many other attendees will as well. The more you network, the more people you’ll meet who need your advice as much as you need theirs.
As we all have different experiences in business, each person has something valuable to offer that others may not have experienced yet.
If every business owner knew it all when they started, no business would falter or fail. But business, like life, is a constant learning process. Finding a business mentor has transformed the efforts of even the most famous faces.
Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page all had mentors. Mentors pass down their knowledge, use their experience to advise you, and guide you through business development.
Having a mentor is something to be proud of, not to be ashamed of.
If your budget is tight and you need help with something small, a skills exchange can be a great option. You may well meet peers through networking who could use your skills when you need theirs.
A graphic designer could create your brand logo, for instance, while you show them how to incorporate their business.
Outsourcing some of your needs is one of the most efficient ways to grow your business. Many people outsource legal work to lawyers or tax work to accountants, why wouldn’t you outsource other things?
As your business grows, your IT needs may become complicated. Every business has different requirements so signing up for a professional support plan can transform this challenging area. By getting the support you need, you and your team can work far more efficiently.
Offer Your Own Help and Advice
A large part of the shame we might feel around asking for help is not seeing it from the other person’s perspective. When you offer help and advice to others, you’ll realize that you don’t think any less of them for needing it.
You’ll be able to see them for who they are, business people who don’t yet have the same knowledge you do. When you give advice to others, you may quickly find it much easier to ask for help yourself.
When you’re networking, identifying where your knowledge might be helpful allows you to give generously to others. This attitude will reward you time and time again.
Asking for Help Is a Strength
There’s only so much you can experience in a lifetime. By asking for help and advice, you get more knowledge, from more sources, than you could build yourself.
By networking with other business owners, you’ll be on the fast track to finding the people who can help you. And when you offer your advice to others, you’ll see that it’s a mutually rewarding act.
There’s no need to feel isolated and inadequate as a business owner. When you reach out to the business community, it’ll be clear that everybody helps each other. Follow us for more great business advice that allows you to overcome obstacles and thrive.