In The Media / May 22, 2017

The 4 types of people a businesswoman should get in her network

This article originally appeared in Women's Agenda

The 4 types of people a businesswoman should get in her network

Despite having jam packed ‘to do’ lists and lots going on, many business owners will inevitably think, ‘Jeez this running a business thing is lonely business.’

A lack of support, a feeling that everything rests on their shoulders, and a sense that there is no one there for them are often fuelling these feelings of isolation.

From the boardroom to home, there is no doubt there are more opportunities than ever to stay connected. Social media has turned our world of making connections upside down, networking groups provide meet-ups to connect in real life, industry specific events enable us to talk to people that get our professional world and days jam-packed with meetings fill diaries.

Surely all this should leave us feeling connected and supported?

It is widely assumed that entrepreneurs operate alone, overcoming all challenges and bringing their ideas to market out of sheer individual drive and personality.

But this could not be further from the truth. Entrepreneurs understand that it is essential to have a core network around them to maximise the chances of productive ideas coming to fruition.

Dame Anita Roddick, founder of cosmetics giant The Body Shop, once said: ‘We entrepreneurs are loners, vagabonds, troublemakers. Success is simply a matter of finding and surrounding ourselves with those open-minded and clever souls who can take our insanity and put it to good use.’

I wonder if we are really lonely or is it more about the choices we are making: not to reach out, not to connect with the right people, not to ask for help?

Finding your own circle of influence is key to your success and I would suggest choosing your network wisely starts with these 4 key people.

PROMOTER

Your own personal cheerleading squad is key to your success. They are with you through thick or thin, never giving up on you, always dreaming big with you.  Promoters pull you toward your future dreams, make noise about potential possibilities and spend time with you to explore how you’re going to achieve your goals.  They put fire in your belly and belief in your mind.

According to research from the Centre For Talent Innovation, people with promoters are 23% more likely to move up in their career than those without sponsors.

PIT-CREW

Climbing the ladder of success can be a lonely task, requiring grit, determination and perseverance. We all experience days of frustration and disappointment, days when we have to face our fears, make tough decisions or calls, push past failures and keep focused on opportunities that lie outside our comfort zone. Having the right crew to help you overcome these difficulties, keeping you mentally tough and balanced, is crucial.

Like a Formula One pit stop, your pit crew can make or break a race.  They add stamina to run the marathon of your dreams; to navigate complexities and recover from setbacks.  They help you learn from mistakes and keep pushing you on anyway.

TEACHER

Seek out teachers who will continue to help develop your mastery and knowledge, pushing you to know more. They may have already achieved what you want to achieve and will willingly open doors, make introductions and pave the way to your success.

Harvard professor Linda Hill says, ‘You can’t think of something new unless you are being pushed to think in new directions, and you can’t do that unless you are engaging with people who have a different viewpoint.’

BUTT-KICKER

Love them or hate them, we all need a Butt-kicker. Butt-kickers are the masters of delivery.  They listen to your dreams and accelerate your goals, pushing you to do more and holding you accountable for all your actions — and then some.

Choose your tribe carefully. Take control because strategically aligning yourself with the right people will fast track your goals and ambitions and influence the person you eventually become.  And maybe, just maybe,  it’s up to you to ask those you trust for the gift of time. Time to bounce ideas around about what’s next, to talk through the various ways in which a problem could be solved, to be your sounding board, the shoulder to cry on. To maybe, just for once, talk about you for a change.

Your key network is there for you and closer than you think – you simply have to be brave enough to reach out and connect because their encouragement and support is exactly what gets you to where you want to go in life. And it simply cannot be done on your own.

This article originally appeared in Women's Agenda

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