Running a business is hard — end of story. As much experience, schooling, or preparation you might have, you’ll run into an unexpected hiccup along the way. Regardless of how great your offerings are, the world around you will change. As your industry shifts or economic blips change demand, you’ll have to endure the consequences.
One of the few things that really does help is advice from others who have gone through the same thing. Whatever is happening to you has likely happened to plenty of business leaders before. Seeking out their advice is a great way to weather the storm you’re currently facing, whether it’s a PR nightmare or a logistical issue.
Finding the right people, however, isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you’re looking to get guidance, consider:
Incubators are a great way to refine and develop your business with a greater sense of security. Businesses that have been through incubators have an 87% survival rate — much better than the 50% attrition rate most businesses face after five years.
That being said, it’s important to find the right type of incubator for your business. Not all incubation programs will be well-suited to your business’s operations. Lists of the best accelerators and incubators can give you a starting point. Consider what types of companies the programs have produced, as well as the types of mentors they offer. Evaluate the resources that will be available to you. Even the questions asked during the application process can help you determine whether the program is relevant to your company.
2. Futurist Speakers
It’s one thing to seek advice for your current problems in business; it’s another to prepare for the problems you may face going forward. Futurist speakers can offer valuable insight into what the professional landscape is going to look like in the short and long term, giving your business a powerful edge over shortsighted competition. These consultants are able to pinpoint threats and opportunities you may not have noticed. An introduction to an exciting, yet unfamiliar, idea can be invaluable.
Whether it’s automation or cryptocurrency, new technologies promise to upend every part of business. Whether you run a cutting-edge tech startup or a long-established brick-and-mortar operation, changes in the digital world are determining the way business is done the world over. If you want to be successful, you need some forward-thinking people guiding you.
3. Industry Leaders
Those at the top had to get there somehow. Who are the big names and faces in your sector? More importantly, how did they get there? Knowing how the most successful achieved prominence can be a helpful guide for doing the same yourself.
Look for leaders with similar backgrounds or business models as yours. If their actions are imitable, think about how you might incorporate their style or philosophy. Perhaps there’s an aspect of their thinking you disagree with — find a way to subvert it while applying what feels like a strong fit.
Sometimes, it can all just come down to one person. A mentor can be extremely helpful for guiding you along your path as an entrepreneur while giving you the personal connection and attention you need to thrive. The benefits are obvious: 88% of owners consider a mentor invaluable.
As great as it can be to have an old friend or confidant be your mentor, don’t be afraid to reach out beyond your comfort zone. Scouting your industry for potential mentors is critical for finding the right person to steer you in the best direction when it comes to your business. Plenty of well-established businesspeople are willing and happy to share their insights with younger leaders trying to cut their teeth in the same field. Let them know you’re interested.
Many people are aware of many of the best business books, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’ve read them. Going straight to some of the most popular and enlightening books about business cuts out the need for endless applications, emails, and inquiries. A well-written book can offer direct access to the most valuable aspects of someone’s thoughts.
That’s not to say that you need to go straight for the classics, though. There’s so much literature out there on so many subjects that you could probably find a book that offers a valuable solution to the problem you’re facing — or at least a new way of looking at it. Additionally, a book doesn’t have to be directly about business to be enlightening. Reading about great philosophers or politicians can also give you insight into how strong leaders operate.
No one will be able to address exactly what you’re going through, but plenty of people and resources can help. Running a business is hard — finding the right guidance makes it easier.