Guest post written by Natalia Walker, Inner Creative
Do you make your business decisions all on your own?
As a business owner the buck stops with us – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the wisdom and experience of others as you weigh up your options and make your decision.
Big companies have a board of directors to help steer their ship and keep their CEO accountable. Even if you’re a small business of one, you can still adopt a ‘board of advisors model’ for yourself. (By the way, these ‘advisors’ do not replace seeking legal or other professional advice you need to run your business).
Getting a mentor or coach, or joining a mastermind or networking group (like Motivating Mum’s Businessmums’ Club) are common ways to get support and another perspective on issues that you face in your business. You can also take a less formal approach by having your own list of ‘go to people’ for business (as you would in your personal life, say when you want to bounce off issues you’re having about your kids’ sleep or lack of :-)).
Now a warning – it’s not a bad thing to include your mum or friends, especially if they are successful savvy business entrepreneurs, in your informal board of advisors. However, if they’re not in the business world they might not always appreciate or be personally comfortable with taking some of the risks required to get your business and name out there. So while an outside business perspective is OK, make sure to balance it with other business-minded folks too.
But before you start stressing about joining up a whole lot of Facebook groups or formally approaching potential mentors, have you considered having a supplementary virtual advisory board? And I don’t mean using Skype or Facetime . I’m talking about tapping into your creativity by creating a list of business leaders who inspire you but that you don’t necessarily know – aka an imaginary advisory board (to use in addition to people you do know). It’s quick and readily accessible at any time of day. Here’s how…
Select your ‘advisors’ – Who are the business leaders out there that you admire?
Select around 3 business leaders you admire. They don’t have to be business owners in the traditional sense –perhaps you admire Madonna for her constant reinvention, or how Oprah positioned herself as a unique brand despite her start as a news anchor?
Do some research – get to know your ‘advisors’ and their philosophy
Why do you admire your chosen business leaders?
- Is it the approach they took to setting up their business?\
- How they treat people around them?
- Their courage or determination?
Are there some clues about them and their philosophy that you can adopt in your own business . Get to know more about your ‘advisors’, their values, and approaches as best you can (without stalking please ?). Read their bio or memoir, their business books or blog; follow them on social media; attend any of their live events or workshops. And who knows? One day you might be able to call your admired business leader a good friend or colleague, but in the meantime…
‘Consult’ your advisors whenever you need a different perspective on your business
When you have a tricky business decision it always pays to get another perspective. So you can Google search their views on a particular topic or refer to their book to find out what they did at a similar stage in their business. Bear in mind that there mightn’t be an exact answer to your question, for instance you won’t find much on Coco Chanel’s view on using social media.
This is where you take advantage of your brain’s computer-like desire to try to find an answer to everything. If you’ve done any amount of research, you’ll probably be able to make an educated guess about what your advisor’s take would be on your present situation.
Use your imagination. If they were standing in the room right next to you what can you imagine them telling you? Would they use a particular approach to work it out, e.g. journal or go for a walk? Would they want more information, e.g. more financials? Is there someone else they would also consult? By opening your mind to other possibilities, it might just spark off another idea of your own on how to solve your problem.
Check in on this different perspective
Seeking other’s perspectives is not about abdicating your responsibilities as a business owner or leader. So check out how you feel about this different perspective.
- Do you feel good about the new idea? Why? Why not?
- If you feel some level of discomfort about it? Why? Perhaps check the decision against your values to see where the discomfort lies? Does it just need a little tweak to feel more comfortable?
- Also listen to your body for cues, e.g. does it feel tight and constricted? Centered and at peace?
But in the end, no matter what anyone tells you (or you imagine them telling you) the buck does stop with you. Make the decision that resonates most with you and lets you sleep easy at night. Even if you’re not sure where your decision will take you, know that you’ve always got somewhere to go to for support and advice.
So have you set up a ‘board of advisors’ for your business? If not, who would you include in it? Please share your discoveries in the comments below.
Natalia Walker, founder of Inner Creative, empowers entrepreneurs to unlock their creativity to create a business that’s more aligned with who they are and what they want.
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