I’m not referring to sole proprietors. I’m referring to small business owners that fight economic crisis by themselves, instead of collaborating with other small business owners.
Sure, there are events, associations and organisations that gather small business owners from various niche for meetings, seminars, etc. But I’m not sure half of the members are actually helping each other out in term of sparking optimism.
You see, from my experience, most gathering or networking sessions are filled with laughters, and unfortunately, filled with stories that evolve around how hard the recession hit their business!
Sad, but true.
Laughters are OK, but ‘gossiping’ on how pessimistic they are, or how badly their businesses are hit by the recession, is not what you need in a small business networking.
Instead of growing your businesses and improve your skills as a business owner, you will feel ‘attached’ with the others – in a bad way – you feel that you are not alone, yes. But pitying yourself and thinking that it’s OK to drown in recession as others do is, um, pathetic and very ‘un-entrepreneurial’
I have some tips for you on how to use the power of small business networking to actually improve your business and yourself as a business owner.
Surround yourself with people that can sparks changes in good and bad times
This tip is not original – I’ve read it from Robert Kiyosaki’s books (If you didn’t know who Robert is: He is the best selling writer of the controversial Rich Dad Poor Dad series.)
The essence is this: No matter how hard you try to better yourself and your business, surrounding yourself with the wrong kind of people will bring your business down. Period.
I have experienced this, and all I can say is “amen” :) You see, it is almost impossible to better yourself as a small business owner, having you surrounded with negative, pessimistic, and self-pitying people.
Of course, you can try to be that ‘small light in the middle of darkness’ – the one that inspire the surrounding neighbourhood. But chances are – I’ve known lots of examples of this – you are the one who is ‘inspired’ by the people surrounding you, not the other way around.
How to surround yourself with optimistic people? Seminars and conventions are the right venues to look for new friends and colleagues :) You can, too, join forums or social media on the Web, and seek the right people to teamwork with.
I joined me2everyone, a community-owned online business community, with a hope that I can collaborate with other like-minded entrepreneurs that can grow a business within me2everyone or partner with fellow members to do good effort to thrive in today’s recession.
I also joined LinkedIn to collaborate with fellow members – I’m still exploring this, though. I’m also using Twitter to connect with others, too. All in all, the social media can help you a great deal finding the right people to surround you with.
Form an association or entrepreneurs club yourself
Why not forming an association or entrepreneurs club yourself? This way, you can attract people that think alike.
If your club has enough membership, you can arrange for personal development or business seminars that can help your club members, and yourself, to be better in attitude and ability to face recession.
Thanks to the Internet, you can gather people super-fast to have a meet up. You can try MeetUp.com to arrange a loosely connected club.
Merge your small business with other complementary small business
Here’s a thought for you – How about merging your small business with others?
Set aside your I’ve-built-this-from-scratch ego, and create a bigger, multi-faceted business with fellow small business owners.
Or, if you are not willing to do this, create a brand together with fellow small business owners is a smart decision. One case study is PostNet.
PostNet is essentially a business service center franchise that depart from several independent business service center owners that gather around to discuss the possibility to have their stores branded under one brand name, build the brand name, and later on, franchise the concept to new investors.
Hopefully those tips can help you collaborate with like-minded small business owners that will, eventually, help each other out to survive and thrive in today’s recession.
Small business gathering
Image by PhillipC.