“People will laugh at you.”
“You have to do everything alone.”
“You don’t know how.”
The things we say to ourselves can be pretty disheartening sometimes. Especially when it comes to asking for help. In business, many perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness, but it is a natural part of life. From birth to young adulthood we’ve had parents, teachers or friends who have guided us along our path.
So why would we stop seeking guidance as adults?
Think about successful entrepreneurs you admire. It is likely they have a support system, advisors and friends who helped them on their way. Even the richest man in the world, Microsoft Co-Founder, Bill Gates, has a guiding mentor.
Here are five common reasons people often don’t ask for help.
1) I Will Be Perceived As Weak If I Can’t Do Everything On My Own
If you think about it, you literally can’t do most things alone. For example, what are you reading this article on? You are likely staring at a computer screen or phone that someone else created.
Whether you know it or not, you are being supported by people or products all day. From the barista who serves you your morning coffee, to your client who pays you for your services, we are all connected in some way.
Receiving and giving help is natural. You can think of it like breathing. If you just breathe in, you won’t survive. If you just breathe out, you won’t survive. You need a balance of both to thrive.
Tip: Ask for help in a professional and supportive environment such as a formal mentorship organization or by joining a business organization.
2) I Can Do Everything Alone
Everyone is born with different strengths and weaknesses, and it is likely that you excel in certain areas compared to others. For example you may be a wiz at marketing, but not so handy at fixing the broken toilet in your office. Or, you may be amazing at decorating your office, but it may take you a few hours to write a few sentences for your blog.
Think of the opportunity cost of the time you spend doing difficult tasks compared to outsourcing them. If you benefit from outsourcing, the time you free up leaves you with more time to increase revenue for your business.
Tip: In the beginning stages of your small business you may be tight on funds, so it may not be possible to outsource jobs initially. However, there are websites such as Trade Exchange Canada where you can trade and barter your services for other people’s services without money being exchanged.
3) No One Else Understands My Business Like I Do
If you’ve moved a small business from a dream to reality, you may feel that you know everything there is to know about it and that you don’t need any guidance. Richard Branson, British billionaire entrepreneur, believes this is one of the biggest misconceptions a person can have as “no matter how incredibly smart you think you are, or how brilliant, disruptive or plain off-the-wall your new concept might be, every startup team needs at least one good mentor.”
It is likely that someone will be able to understand your business as well as you do and may even be able to offer additional valuable advice from his/her unique personal experience.
Tip: Surprisingly, it can be extremely helpful to receive guidance from a person in a different industry to you. When you are looking at your own business it is likely that you have blind spots that you cannot see. Someone from a different industry is looking at your business through a different lens and can show you what you may be missing.
4) I Am Worried About the Privacy of My Business Information
If you have important questions about your business, you need to find someone who you can trust that you can talk to. This may be a friend or family member, but ideally someone who has the experience to provide you with guidance.
A great way to guarantee privacy is to ask for guidance from organizations or companies that offer confidentiality and conflict of interest policies.
Tip: If you are looking for guidance from a mentor in British Columbia, you can visit mentorshipbc.ca and search for a mentorship organization to contact. All mentorship organizations require confidentiality and conflict of interest policies to be listed on the site.
5) If I Do Everything on My Own, I Won’t Be Disappointed By People
It’s likely you will be disappointed many times in your life and career. It is a normal part of life. The key is to do your background research of those you ask to help you which will decrease the risks of disappointment.
You may also need to evaluate your expectations of other people. If you have extremely high and unreachable expectations, you may need to change your expectations and not the people around you.
Tip: Good people tend to attract other good people. If you have great business contacts that you trust, ask them if they have any people in mind that can help you.
So you’ve decided you could use some help
A great place to start is by getting a mentor. Research shows that small business owners with mentors are twice as likely to stay in business after five years. Visit mentorshipbc.ca today and find a mentorship organization that is right for you.