18 Jul 2017
Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. No-one expects you to be good at everything, or be able to do everything on your own, so why should you have such unrealistically high expectations for yourself?
Trying to do everything on your own will actually make you weaker. Imagine you’re having a meal in a restaurant and you start choking on a piece of food lodged in your throat, what would be the best thing to do (spoiler alert – this is a rhetorical question): (a) not want to admit you have a problem so quietly attempt to resolve the problem yourself and literally die trying; (b) ask someone for help, they get rid of the obstruction, you enjoy the rest of your meal, and go on to live a long and happy life?
It’s basically the same if you’re running your own company. If you don’t ask for help when you need it, you will end up weakening your business – possibly fatally.
The general advice amongst business leaders and consultants is to acknowledge your limitations and surround yourself with people who can fill the skills gaps for you. The bonus is that, in turn, this will make you a stronger leader yourself.
You can even look at asking for help as being part of your marketing strategy. By talking to other businesses for advice or employing their services, what you’re doing in essence is raising your brand’s profile. This is especially helpful if you’ve just set up your company and need to spread the word.
If you are having problems with certain areas of business, e.g. accounting, marketing, record keeping, HR issues etc, employing the services of a consultant or specialist company is the obvious thing to do.
You will probably have built up good relationships with your business mentor, and this person is obviously the first person you should turn to for advice. You already have a good relationship with them and they are there for you in just this kind of situation. If you don’t already have a business mentor, then whatever the health of your company, think about finding an experienced businessperson willing to take you on.
It’s also good to be purposeful about who you ask for help. Think about approaching the kind of companies or business leaders you’d like to form relationships or even partnerships with in the future, and treat asking for their help as part of your long-term business strategy.
There’s also a lot of merit in finding out what your clients think. You could simply ask them – a quick phone call or an informal meeting – or, if you think they’d be more honest in a more anonymous setting, create a customer survey for free on a service like Survey Monkey, or employ the services of a mystery shopping company or PR agency to do it for you. Although it’s reasonable to expect a certain amount of criticism, you may get some really good ideas you hadn’t thought of, and will hopefully be pleasantly surprised by the feedback they give you.
Your networking group will always be full of people you can reach out to. They will probably also be flattered to be asked for their advice. And hopefully being more open and honest with each other, you’ll strengthen the trust between you in the future.
If you work in a co-working office space, you will have a ready-made network of small business owners. One of the benefits of working in the hub is that you will have ‘colleagues’ willing to help out in the same way that you will be willing to help them when they need someone to turn to.
Click here to find out more about the co-working workspaces we have available in the centre of Hertford, then contact us to arrange a viewing.