Entrepreneurship doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Or at least it shouldn’t. Entrepreneurship happens best out in the open, in community with others, and in the context of deepening relationships with family, friends, advisors, customers, shareholders, employees, and a close inner circle.
In other words, don’t do this alone.
While myriad articles exist talking about the benefits of a solid founding team or helping the entrepreneur find reliable financial or legal help, other partnerships must be developed to ensure long-term success for the entrepreneur and his or her venture.
Here are three critical relationships entrepreneurs must have for success:
1) Someone outside the bubble
When focused on growing a startup, the founder can concentrate on one thing and one thing only: growing the venture. Industry metrics, past performance, business plans, and future markets cloud his or her mind continually, so in order to stay balanced, an entrepreneur needs to have someone in his or her court who doesn’t think about these things as much. Someone like a best friend, a partner, a therapist (even using online therapy), or mentor. Choosing someone who doesn’t live in the trenches means the entrepreneur can wrap his or her head around other concepts from time to time.
2) Someone who’s been there before
Mentorship is underrated. By finding the right mentor, the entrepreneur can save the time and agony of making certain crucial mistakes. The mentor doesn’t have to be in the same sector or industry, but they do have to have accomplished something the entrepreneur wants to: an exit, taking on a competitor, a significant capital raise, solid leadership, or multiple acquisitions or pivots. Setting your sights on finding the right person to show you the ropes means you’ll get down the path much more quickly.
3) Someone who can hear it all
Entrepreneurship comes with stress and headaches (sorry that this journey can’t be all-awesome, all the time). Therefore, in order to stay healthy inside and out, I think entrepreneurs need someone who can hear it all. This can be ranting on a run to a friend or even seeking out and investing in talk therapy. Given an entrepreneur’s busy and unpredictable schedule, resources like Talkspace can be invaluable in restoring sanity or just letting an entrepreneur share what’s happening internally with no fear of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.
Entrepreneurship is a journey that is long, often unpredictable, and full of challenges. It wasn’t meant to be traversed alone. Go farther and faster by having the right people to talk to.