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9 Support Networks All Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed in Business

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Entrepreneurship is a lonely, but rewarding venture but you don’t have to go at it alone. While new business owners are advised to have an accountant and lawyer on their team, there’s rarely mention about the support networks you need as you start and grow your business. The people in these networks keep you focused, motivated and accountable. They are sources of encouragement, ideas, referrals and resources. Additionally, they give you feedback, constructive criticism and guidance.

Regardless of which stage your business is in, you’re going to need support. It’s best to establish your support systems as soon as you consider starting your own business. Then, cultivate those relationships as your business grows. Following, are the 9 support networks entrepreneurs need to succeed.

1. Mentors

A mentor is someone who has experience in the area in which you need help and is willing to help you. They provide direction and guidance, and shorten your learning curve by months, even years. Mentoring relationships can be formal or informal, in-person or virtual. Generally speaking, the mentor gives more than the mentee. However, the mentee can reciprocate by checking in periodically and asking if he or she needs anything. When contacting your mentor for advice or check-ins, be respectful of his or her time.

2. Accountability Partners (AP)

Accountability partners are the most important support person in your network. They hold you accountable for completing short-term projects. This is either a free or paid virtual relationship that requires commitment from both parties.

Here’s how this relationship works: You tell your AP the project you’re working on, the estimated completion date and desired result. Send a tentative outline of the steps required to complete the project. You both set a mutually convenient check-in schedule.

During check-ins, you will give an update on your progress, discuss challenges and next steps and ask for advice, if needed. You could also brainstorm ideas. Your partner can be a mentor, coach, friend or colleague. Essentially, it is anyone committed and invested in your success.

3. Coaches

Coaches help you develop personally or professionally. You hire and pay them for a set amount of time, although the time could be extended upon agreement by both parties. You can work with multiple coaches simultaneously. Be sure the people you’re considering hiring are qualified to help you before investing in their services. Also remember that you can fire them if they don’t provide the service and support you need.

4. Mastermind Groups

Mastermind groups are small groups that help you move forward professionally and keep you accountable in your endeavor. The group meets on a regular basis and each team member has a turn to discuss his or her successes and challenges, brainstorm ideas and consider possible solutions based on suggestions from team members. They meet in-person or virtually over a long or short-term period. These groups can be formal or informal and with paid or unpaid memberships.

5. Online Groups

Online groups are very convenient when you need help, especially when you spend most of your time online. Most groups are either on Facebook or LinkedIn. The most effective groups have active moderators that post frequently and hold members accountable.

The benefits of these online groups include, but are not limited to, meeting new and cool people, giving and receiving help and accountability. In addition, you’ll develop relationships that may grow offline.

In order to benefit from these groups, though, you have to be active. Don’t just appear with the expectation of getting help or drop in periodically. Be prepared to share your knowledge and experiences consistently. Memberships to online groups are typically free.

6. Meetups

Check out Meetup.com to connect in-person with people with similar interests in business, hobbies or fitness. In addition to meeting people and learning new things, there may opportunities to conduct presentations and workshops. You may also connect with potential partners for business projects. Most meetups are free to attend however, some events require a small fee.

7. Professional Organizations

These member-based organizations cater to professionals in specific professions and industries. Continuing education, updates on industry news and laws, and networking opportunities are just a few benefits they offer. You have to pay annual dues, as well as registration fees for monthly meetings and other events.

8. Friends

Friends are your foundation. They will listen to you, encourage you, and be honest with you, even if you don’t like it. When they may not know what you’re talking about. They may even ask clarifying questions and offer suggestions. Most importantly, they will comfort you during challenging times.

9. Business Development Centers

Your business growth is their priority. They have counselors and partners to help you at all levels of business. They hold workshops, seminars, conferences and networking events, sometimes in partnership with organizations who want to reach business owners. They offer opportunities to pitch and present your business to investors and banks for funding. And they connect you with other business owners who can become clients or partners. Counseling services are free, but you do have to pay for workshops, conferences and other special events and services.

Marcie Hill is a freelance writer, blogger, trainer and author who left her job to pursue her dream of writing. She has written over 3,000 blog posts; self-published eight books; and presented at national and local conferences. Currently, she’s researching Chicago’s roller skating history with a goal of publishing her book soon.

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Lessons We Can All Learn From Martin Luther King Jr.’s Leadership

While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader

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While reflecting on the magnificent life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I began to uncover what truly made Dr. King such a powerful leader. Many revere him for the change he brought forth so it’s no wonder that he was heavily influenced by the man who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. He embodied that statement on the deepest level and lead people through one of the most challenging yet historic times in our nation. 

But what was it that made Dr. King’s movement so different than the rest? A quality that transcends ego and unites a people so divided? 

My greatest and most moving discovery while studying the life of Dr. King was the very answer to our question. 

Yes, he had the personality to be a leader, yes he had the bravery to use his voice, yes he evoked REAL change in government and policies, but the manifestation of all those comes from his willingness to lead a movement truly rooted in consciousness. 

A peaceful approach

Dr. King was continuously met with frustration, hate, and even violence by both law enforcement and those who wanted to fight for equality through violence. But the more violent things became, the more he dug his heels into a peaceful approach. Dr. King’s unwavering faith in the power to lead with peace and not violence is undoubtedly why his legacy is such a pillar of our nation still to this day. It is easier to fight.

Hate, anger and separateness from one another are primitive emotions on the emotional scale of well being but It takes awareness, understanding and elevated consciousness to move from a place of peace and understanding. Dr. King knew that we all have access to these states of higher consciousness and that our true power lies in a peaceful approach.

He is an example of the truest essence of our consciousness in this human experience. How to truly love your neighbor as yourself. 

Conscious compassion

Even the strongest opponents are human. Meet hate with love + compassion for the enemy” he said. It wasn’t his resistance to violence that made him a peacemaker, but rather his commitment to keeping compassion and connection to all humanity at the forefront of his movement. A profound understanding that underneath all the hate, violence and discrimination, we are all one. We all come from the same source and we are all human.

A conscious king

A man of his position, his power, his following could have been easily swayed by the human temptations of the ego. But he remained steadfast in his cause to bring forth real change. He understood on the deepest level that we are truly a stronger force in the universe when we move as one unit, with one mind, and one goal. That the separation from one another is the weakness of humanity. That our strength is in those things that unite us all, the qualities that give us life.

His success was in uniting not just the people of America but the consciousness of America.

No matter our gender, or our social class or our color, we all love, and we all seek peace. We all feel joy and happiness, we all want to be met with compassion and understanding. 

His cause went far beyond the need for physical freedom and equal rights. His cause was for freedom of mind, freedom of heart, freedom to be one. 

Lead with love

In his last speech he said, “I may not get there with you, but we AS A PEOPLE will get to the promise land”. And we will. At some point, we will inevitably come back to this oneness that we all come from.

The truth is? We don’t know when our last day is. Our last march. Our last speech. So this Martin Luther King Jr. Day I ask you, what will your legacy be? Are you leading a life founded in the principles of Dr. King’s movement, founded in the higher consciousness of humanity? Every moment is an opportunity to love, to show compassion, to bring forth peace and in the words of Dr. King “The time is always right to do what is right”.

Dr. King said, “I’m here to remind you, we’ve come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done”. 

And I’m here to remind you this Martin Luther King Jr. day in 2024 that we HAVE come a longggg way, but there is still work to be done. 

His fight is our fight. His mind is our mind. His spirit is our spirit. Rooted in the consciousness of all humanity. We are all one. And when we embrace the understanding of that, we will truly say

“Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free at Last”.

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