Starting a business is tough. Many businesses can take 5 years to really get their footing. If you’re going to commit several years of your life to building a business, you want to be sure that what you have is viable. Truth is, even if you have a viable model, there are going to be times when you won’t believe that it is.
I learned a huge lesson this last week.
GET A MENTOR!
They say the number one reason businesses fail is undercapitalization. I disagree. If entrepreneurs sought qualified advice, they would know that they need more money to pull it off. The real reason for failure is that they think they don’t need advice!
This week I contacted an acquaintance whom I didn’t know so well. He goes to my church and he’s friends with my wife’s dad. I’ve spoken to him a few times and he knew that I was working on some “business related to real estate.” All I knew about him was that he started a medical equipment business many years ago that has been very successful.
I wrote him an email. I expressed my frustration with the lack of qualified advice and just asked him if he’d be willing to sit down with me for a few minutes. I wanted to hear about his experiences with getting his business going and get some feedback on what I was doing with mine.
It was one of the most encouraging meetings of my life. He has been where I am. He worked hard and diligently on what seemed to be a worthwhile venture (like I’m doing), and he’s now a very successful man with a 20-employee business. In our meeting he did a lot of listening and offered some great insights. He could also relate to the personal and family challenges that come along with making a commitment to starting a business.
We decided to stay in touch and we’ve been emailing since.
My only regret is that I didn’t contact him sooner!
Entrepreneurs are by definition “do-it-your-selfers.” However, I’m realizing, that this stubborn “I can do it all myself” attitude is often a hindrance to their own success.
Take the time to seek well-qualified advice. If you ask humbly and graciously many people who have been through it will be happy to help. It’s well worth the effort.