Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The 5 persons every entrepreneur should know

When the last time you checked who’s in your corner?

Top 5 lists are the buzz these days. There are 5 ways to lose your dreaded love handles. 5 ways to make your baby happy. And my favourite, the 5 things to do to become a better manager. Just when you thought that the list was a killjoy here comes another list, this one from the guru of self help, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, whose web site published an article entitled: “Five friends every woman should have.” In it the writer states that here are 5 kinds of pals she counts on for completely different things. Each friend brings a different element to the friendship; in total she says they make her life that much better.

I stumbled across that article on the same day I got an email from a reader in Barbados asking if I could become his mentor. He was starting his own marketing and PR firm, was going to do his MBA and thought that one key to success was having someone with whom he could bounce around ideas.

Both the story and that email got me thinking, are there special friends that entrepreneurs should have in the corner? And if I had to advise a budding entrepreneur about the 5 qualities they should look for in 5 separate people what would I tell them to look for?

Here are my choices.

The Cheerleader
Every entrepreneur needs someone who’ll tell them they’re great, that their new idea will succeed, that they’re doing just fine. Starting a business can often be a lonely and often tough undertaking; someone who sets wind beneath your sail is best gift you can give yourself, especially when you’re now starting out. Whenever I found myself getting down in the doldrums, I turned to my cheerleader, a former professor, who along with his wife told me: “Entrepreneurship would allow me dance to the beat of my own drum.” I haven’t stopped spinning since.

The Mentor
Now that I being continuously asked to mentor ‘newbies’ I think back to my early years when I turned to the voice of experience i.e. another entrepreneur who was years ahead of me. Growing a business is hard, real hard but sometimes you don’t have to re-invent the wheel or even suffer the unnecessary hardship of not knowing. Somewhere there is a person who did what you’re doing. Chances are you stand a lot to learn from him or her.

The Networker
Sure you have a right to be shy, after all you’re new in the game, your idea haven’t flown off the shelf yet and you never did like rattling off about yourself. All that is okay because that where your networking friend comes in. She’ll introduce you to people, pick up the phone and get the door open to someone you’d been trying to sell to for months. Stick with her; soon you’ll see that networking is not only easy, it is crucial if you are going to succeed.

The Naysayer
Your tell-it-like-it-is friend will let you know that no one will buy your idea and give you a million sound reasons why. Listen to him! Your naysayer friend will give a fresh and different perspective from the cheerleader who always thinks your ideas are just great. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find your own reality.

The tech guru
Technology is crucial to every business’ growth these days. In the early days you probably won’t be able to buy each new gadget but it couldn’t hurt to know what’s out there. Moreover your tech buddy will save you a lot of time and money in the early days of your venture. She’ll become a life saver if only because your server is sure to go down.

Visit the writer’s website at Judette is the Managing Director of Mango Media Caribbean, a Trinidad based strategic communications and PR firm.

No comments: