Owning a business is not only stressful, it can be lonely. Whether you have just started a new business or are preparing to celebrate yet another year of successful business, it is important to build a network of like-minded individuals who can offer advice, listen to your ideas, and share opportunities with you.
Having a business support network can help you feel less stress over the everyday struggle of work and entrepreneurship. Here are a few ways you can build a business support network.
- Chamber of Commerce: Find and join a local or state chapter so you can meet and support other business leaders. Becoming an active member can expose you to other industries, perspectives, opportunities, and like-minded individuals.
- SCORE: Supported by the Small Business Association, SCORE is a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. There are SCORE locations throughout the U.S. providing workshops, mentorship and professional support to business year-round.
- Extracurricular groups: It’s easy to forget that we form bonds with people we meet through leisure activities like sports leagues, volunteer and travel groups. When not working on or in your business, it’s important to engage in non-work-related activities that feed your outside interests.
- Former co-workers: If you’ve shared ideas or worked well with previous coworkers and staff, re-engage with them to share your current business venture. Their skillset might be useful in your next idea or they can provide valuable insight or contacts that you may not have considered.
- Professional organizations or conferences: Depending on the nature of your work and business, there might be an established network of professionals who meet regularly. Conferences and professional groups are instant support systems because they bring together small and large crowds of people pursuing similar goals. You can get a lot of inspiration and information by not only attending events but potentially sponsoring or speaking at one.
- Online Groups: Thanks to the wonder of the internet you can find a group for just about anything. You can build connections through online groups who can come from anywhere in the world. You can also join a local online group that has the advantage of being able to meet up.