It’s National Small Business Week, which has me thinking about my business journey and all that
I’ve learned over the past decade of running ValentineHR. One of the most important lessons has been that everyone—but especially small business owners—needs a support structure. Small business owners tend to be independent people who think we can do everything ourselves. I wrote a blog lately about how we need to stick to core competencies and get help for the other stuff. Because when I stopped operating as a lone ranger, and started reaching out to shore up my resources and knowledge–or just get a pat on the back or a kick in the pants from other small business owners– it made the whole thing a lot more fun…and profitable.
So, in honor of National Small Business week, I want to list some of the incredible sources of support you can find to help you grow and enjoy life more as a small business owner:
Small Business Organizations: You know these. Like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the Small Business Resource Center and the National Federation for Independent Businesses, to name a few. These places have everything from experienced advisors to help with building a business plan or a website, information about legal issues, business management and financial forms you might need, templates for various business documents, even loans. Most of it is free.
Small Business Networking Events: I’m going to start with a shameless plug for my own meetup, ATX Business Owners because I think we have an amazing group of business owners who really help and support each other. Also I’m still blown away by all the insights I got from last week’s speaker. But there are a lot of business networking events out there based around the size of your business, your objectives, your industry and so forth. Here you learn all kinds of business strategies you may not have known about before, meet people who can refer clients or customers to you and make friends who actually love talking about the perils and payoffs of business ownership. That way you don’t have to drive your friends who have normal jobs crazy by talking about this stuff all the time.
Mastermind Groups: Also known as Peer Advisory Board groups, these are concentrated groups of peers who are accountable to each other and offer advice, education and support. It’s a smaller, safer space to get help when you’ve made a mistake, don’t know which direction to take your business or want to figure out what strategy to tackle next. I have made some extraordinary friendships and connections through these groups over the years and couldn’t have grown ValentineHR without them.
It’s too easy as a small business person to just work all the time, only interact with employees and customers and wear yourself out. Don’t do it. Running a small business is a huge challenge but you are part of the economic backbone of this country and you’re making things happen. You’re bound to need support, encouragement and advice from time to time. So if there’s one thing you do to celebrate National Small Business Week, celebrate yourself!
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.