I’m not the kind of person who spent most of her younger years dreaming of entrepreneurship, success as a business founder or even freelance working. I can’t imagine myself doing well on Dragons’ Den. Now that I’ve decided to run with it, this means problems I never knew would come. I need advice! How do I create my first business website? Where did all the hours in the week go? And most importantly: Why am I not a massive success after the first year?!
If you have ever asked yourself one of these questions, we’re in the same boat. Looking for advice, guidance, and a helpful BBF - a business best friend. I have found that the difference between success and failure is often just whether you try or not. In those situations, the BBF is invaluable. In this post, I will tell you about one the most important mentor in my life, and the kinds of business things we’ve discussed.
Rule 1 Of A Good Business Friendship
It has to be right for your personality. I’m not a business suit kind of person, so my favourite mentor and discuss projects on the phone, while I sit on the bedroom floor in my PJs and the cat climbs all over me. We only see each other face to face a few times a year, but our relationship is well-established and we’ll discuss whatever is the current issue. I can tell her when I’m not ready to hear all of her opinions, when I need to vent and bring my own thoughts out into the open.
Rule 2 Says You Should Benefit As Much As They Do
Your BBF can ask you questions and tell you about what’s going on in their business just as much as you want to talk to them. I believe that this partnership means you're not the “receiver of all worldly wisdom” - you're challenged to think, share, and grow your conclusions in discussion. No matter if you're working with a fellow entrepreneur or you're hiring an experienced coach, each session should be the full focus for both of you.
Getting actively involved in my BBF's projects and taking an interest in their success is what will make them more interested in me. And in fact, the support and interest that I have for their business has taught me the most important lessons.
Rule 3 Helps You Get In For The Long Run
The learning process does not “click” and you magically learn. The best relationships develop over time and both parties need to put a bit of commitment in at the start and throughout. Keep your BBF up to date with what you are working on, planning to do, ask regular questions and listen to what they have to say.
Not all advice is great advice, but the opportunity to watch someone succeed and grow with their own business is like a Harvard MBA - pretty much priceless.
Here are some things that I have discussed with my BBF in the past.
- What should I name my book, which names have the best impact and what sounds good?
- Given the fact that both of our products can be considered luxuries to most people, how do we set an attractive price without undercutting ourselves?
- What kind of thinking gets you through a low - and what’s really damaging?
- If you’ve got funds, when and what are you supposed to invest in? What’s a gamble, what’s commitment?
- When we launch a new and innovative product, what are the challenges in marketing it?
- When am I supposed to stop working and remember that I’m not superwoman?
One of my total BBFs is my mum. I grew up in a family business, and even though my family's business has been going for hundreds of years, the challenges they face are often really similar to mine. It’s such an education for me to see that even this business which rests on hundreds of years of tradition faces challenges that make every owner worry it could all be over next year. In your own businesses, the challenges never stop. The fight comes with the territory, and I saw it first hand through this mentoring relationship.
How To Find Your Business Partner and BBF
Look around you: Who do you talk to on a regular basis, who do you trust and who’s going to give you an honest opinion about your latest idea?
Family and friends can be taken for granted, but some might reveal deep insights into business. It also pays to work with an experienced coach, someone who has made it their mission to give advice and guidance, and to help you illuminate your own path. Your answers are always inside of you.
Remember that the best coaches aren't here to tell you all the answers, but to help you find the right steps forward. This is how I work with my clients, becoming the BBF and helping you push through self-doubt and discomfort. We work 1-to-1 to create a focused space for you to get into CEO mode and grow your business in the right way.