Running a successful business is exhilarating and rewarding, but as all entrepreneurs and business owners know, it’s no walk in the park. Behind that shiny facade, business owners face some real struggles.
They often find themselves isolated and in need of connection and support, looking for someone who truly understands to provide guidance.
In part 1 of this series, we dived into some of my favourite support options for entrepreneurs. Here, we continue exploring a further 4 options entrepreneurs can consider to help them and their businesses grow…
4 more ways for entrepreneurs to get support
professional + membership organisations
From industry bodies to chambers like Business Chamber Queensland, professional and membership organisations tend to offer some comprehensive education and training capabilities [it’s a big part of how they make their money]. Some also have coaching and mentoring arrangements, some offer networking events as a core value-add and others just give you the credibility of their qualifications.
Core benefits of being involved with professional and membership associations include:
- Networking opportunities [but they tend to be limited to peers in the same industry]
- Targeted and relevant education and learning
- Knowledge sharing as a way to learn
- Dedicated and expert resources [often freely available]
- An opportunity to influence and advocate the industry
- Position yourself as a leader in an industry [if that’s what you want or need]
- No need to reinvent the wheel [they often already have a recommended way of doing things]
- Credibility and recognition [from awards to qualifications]
- A community to lean on [you don’t have to go it alone, but there might be a conflict of interest too]
- Be across industry insights and trends
These benefits depend on the specific association and industry. Often you only get out what you put in so they don’t tend to offer as much accountability as some of the other ways to get support, guidance and advice for you and your business.
educational events and courses
Some guidance and support can come from educational events and development courses. From conferences and podcasts to MBAs and postgrad university studies, there is a plethora of events and resources available to suit your needs.
Some of my favourites include:
- Something Q put on by Qld Chief Entrepreneurs Office and Something Fest. The Qld Chief Entrepreneurs Offices puts on a whole range of other events too, so check out their website
- Business Chamber of Qld [previously CCIQ] also put on a range of events from technical to networking
- The podcast that keeps me up to speed with what’s going on in the economy is ‘Fear and Greed’
- River City Labs is always hosting events with a tech startup focus
- The Precinct [operated by Advance Queensland] is available to a whole range of businesses for events
- Australian Institute of Company Directors [AICD] run some great courses to help Directors understand their obligations
- Free events and webinars put on by businesses like businessDEPOT [you can subscribe to hear about any of our future events and watch past events]
- Short online management courses from some amazing universities like MIT… I did one once with MIT on Digital Transformation
Here are some of the benefits of using events and educational courses for guidance and support in your business:
- Self-paced and targeted learning
- Meet like-minded individuals [often a side benefit of courses]
- Soft skills investment opportunities [like leadership]
- Can be industry specific too
- Often many high-quality events are available at low or no cost [many subsidised by government organisations]
- Global reach and depth [through the many online resources]
When selecting training and learning events, consider your specific business needs, available resources and preferred learning style. Mix and match different types of events to create a well-rounded learning experience that addresses various aspects of your business and personal development.
incubators and accelerators
Being part of an incubator or accelerator program can provide numerous benefits for business owners.
Here are some benefits of participating in incubators or accelerators:
- Still get access to mentors [they may be others in the space or others who donate their time]
- Like-minded individuals around the place to energise you [including the casual watercooler conversations]
- Structured learnings made easily available [from peers and experts]
- Formal and informal networks and connections with others who are likely to have a similar mindset
- Investment and funding opportunities [many see it as a place to meet people to invest in or may even offer seed funding]
- Validation and credibility if you’re accepted into a reputable incubator or accelerator program
- Access to facilities and infrastructure [many provide physical offices and shared workspaces]
- Intensive support and accountability [can offer coaching and accountability]
- Exposure to industry expertise [especially if your incubators or accelerator has an industry focus]
- Peer collaboration and community
- Often promises accelerated growth and scale [the intensive support, resources and guidance provided is usually all about scaling]
It’s important to know each incubator and accelerator program is unique, so it’s crucial to research and choose the program that aligns with your specific industry, business goals and needs.
a combination of all of the above
Of course, some options effectively represent a combination of all the above.
Most people won’t know that I’m a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation [EO]. It’s a place where I get a lot of the guidance and support I need [in business and life] as a business owner and founder.
EO is a global, non-profit organisation that aims to empower and support entrepreneurs. EO provides a platform for entrepreneurs to connect, learn and grow through various programs, events and resources.
EO provides a combination of support including:
- Amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience and inspirational events [locally and globally]
- Exclusive access to world-renowned speakers and trainers [eg Verne Harnish]
- Monthly accountability and learning groups [forums] which are a bit like a combination of group coaching and an advisory board [on personal and business matters]
- Ability to appoint a mentor or coach from within the EO cohort
- Access to worldwide industry groups and resources
- Access to short university courses and executive education programs like London Business School and Bond University
What EO is not is a networking group to sell to. In fact, trying to sell to each other is frowned upon. But from time to time, opportunities do present themselves and you do benefit from the association and connection of a dynamic group of entrepreneurs and business owners around the world.
The benefits of being a member of something like EO include:
- Peer-to-peer experience learning [from a dynamic group of business owners that won’t give advice but will share their own experiences]
- Unique industry expertise [from the global community]
- Monthly forums to hold you accountable
- Executive education opportunities [through a range of collaborations at often heavily discounted prices]
- Networking and connection opportunities but not selling
- A global community of entrepreneurs that generously share and help [because they know what it’s like as a lonely business owner]
- Mentorship and coaching optional [connecting experienced entrepreneurs with less experienced members seeking guidance]
- Business and personal life all rolled into one
- Cost-effective at approximately $650 per month [plus an initial local and global sign-on fee]
- Opportunities to develop practical leadership skills [by getting involved in local chapter board positions and committees]
- Exclusive events and experiences from some of the world’s best [from global conferences, learning retreats and industry-specific forums, to renowned speakers, thought leaders and experts who share their knowledge and insights]
- Access to a wide range of resources, tools and partnerships [that have been refined and negotiated for you to benefit from]
- Wide supportive community [fostering a collaborative comradery from those who understand the challenges and triumphs of business ownership]
- Personal growth and balance a key focus [by keeping it front of mind and providing access to useful resources]
The specific benefits and offerings you could get from something like EO may vary depending on your local EO chapter and region and how much you put in. Check out the official EO website or reach out to local chapters for detailed information on membership benefits and requirements.
I’m always happy to answer questions if you are interested to know more!
Google searches for business coaches still rank high – that’s because many business owners are in desperate need of guidance and support.
Of course, there’s also the option to hire a staff member or contact an organisation like businessDEPOT to provide advice, but here I have focused here on the other options available to help business owners make their vision a reality.
Feel like I have missed an option, or do you think there is a useful link to add to this document? If so, feel free to chime into the conversation and add your thoughts, comments and suggestions below..
we’re here to help
If you want to chat about any of these options, or want to know even more ways for entrepreneurs to get support, feel free to reach out to our team at email@example.com or give us a buzz at 1300 BDEPOT and we’ll do our best to connect you to someone who can help.
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