True or false: You know you have a good business, but you’ve reached a point where you don’t know what to do next. You know you want to expand…you just don’t know how.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone. I meet hundreds of women in this same predicament each year, and there are hundreds more who feel the same way. And you know what I say to them? You don’t have to grow it alone!
There’s absolutely no reason to try to build a business on your own. Sure, it’s possible to do it, but why on earth would you? Especially when you’ve got a community right here, waiting to help you out.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Meredith Pizzi, the founder and director of Roman Music Therapy Services, a music therapy agency in Melrose, Massachusetts, that focuses on serving children and adults with social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, physical and educational needs. Pizzi was among the hundreds of women at our Make Mine a Million $ Business event in Philadelphia last month and the experience was life-changing for her.
“I was so intimidated going to the event and immediately found a community which I believe will be with me for the rest of my life,” she says. “My thinking has completely changed in terms of thinking bigger and having a grander vision. Hearing Nell respond to my pitch by saying ‘You have a very important business!’ was a life changing moment.”
Pizzi, who was named one of the 44 Pitch Winners at the event, is just one example of hundreds of women who have finally realized that they can benefit from a supportive community, that they don’t have to do it on their own. Women who know they have a great business, who know they are ready to spread their wings, and are smart enough to recognize that a little help from their friends can go a long way. Who knows what would have happened if they didn’t have it? They might have been stuck in same place forever.
So what’s the best way for you to bring community into your work world?
- For starters, get involved! There are vibrant resources and communities out there that provide opportunities to connect in person. In addition to our M3 meet ups and pitch parties, there’s American Express “Small Business Saturday,” which takes place this year on Nov. 26, and online resources like Facebook and LinkedIn groups for professionals, our M3 webinar series, and, of course, OPEN Forum. These groups provide important places to be heard, to share ideas, and find encouragement and support.
- Grow, grow, grow. Small business owners should never think they have enough learning. There is always room to consider fresh perspectives and ideas. Find a mentor or coach to provide a critical, but supportive eye, to your business planning and professional development. An example? Micromentor.org.
- Invest in attending at least one conference per quarter. And no—they don’t have to break your bank. Think of it as an investment. If carefully chosen and carefully planned, you can earn the money back in terms of vital new contacts, new ideas and keeping up with your industry. Without interactions with others in your field, you'll become isolated and out of touch.
- Share your knowledge and expertise. Blog! Tweet! Write a guest column in an industry publication or in your local newspaper. The possibilities are endless. Establishing yourself as an expert draws people to you, as a potential speaker for events or even a collaborator for new business ideas.
So get out there and join the larger conversation. It’s taking place locally, regionally and worldwide. Don’t let it go on without you.