For some people having their own business is a dream come true, and in the beginning it is exhilarating and busy; it’s easy to be caught up in the never ending to do list and the anticipation of where it will go. But there is another side to all of this; it can also be really lonely. Thats when you need your support network.

support network

Just recently I was facing a day in which I felt flat. Nothing particular had gone wrong – there was no particular problem to be solved, just a general apathy and struggle to be focussed.  Then I had an unexpected phone call with someone – and it was all I needed – it gave me the spark and the next step forward.

When you are your business, everything is down to you. You have to make all the decisions, you have to have all the motivation and energy and you have to drive the business forward – so where do you go for help?

When you work in an office environment you have other people around you – and with that comes all the day to day interactions from water cooler moments right through to minuted meetings. Working for yourself can mean just that – by yourself.

You need a sounding board – someone to listen to you. Often just the process of saying your idea or thoughts out loud will be enough and you will know whether it is right or wrong, however much you have mulled the idea and looked at it in every angle in your mind. And if you don’t, then hopefully your listener will.  Sometimes a new pair of ears and eyes will see something that is simple and ‘obvious’ but that you have missed.  On other occasions you need to have a moan, need to be congratulated or inspired or just be with people who understand how hard it is to run a business and manage all the other demands in your life.

As a small business owner one of the things that should be on top of your to do list is to build a support network. This can come in many shapes and forms – family, friends, social networking sites, business forums, a business coach or mentor, mums in the school playground, face to face networking – it all counts. And you shouldn’t underestimate any part of your network – your greatest support and apply may be your hairdresser or someone on Twitter you’ve never even met. Don’t be afraid to lean on them and offload – it’s good for your health and the health of your business.

When you are part of a network you all become greater than the sum of your parts. You are no longer X number of individuals working alone – you are all cogs in an intricate wheel that has the potential to take you absolutely anywhere.