In Business, No One Succeeds Alone

Feb 21, 2023

When prospective business owners are asked why they want to start a new business, there are a handful of common answers:

“I want more time and scheduling freedom.”

“I want a higher earning potential.”

“I have a great idea I want to bring into the world.”

Having more time, schedule independence, income, and impact are all great benefits to starting a new business.  As the saying goes, we want and will chase what we have the least of. As employees, we don’t have as much control as we would like over our schedule or income, so many people take the leap and decide to open a business. 

Often, would-be entrepreneurs assess their current workplace and figure: ”I can do this better.”

When they finally decide to open a new business, fledgling business owners often proclaim things like, “I’m going out on my own” as a way to assert their independence from corporate life. 

New business owners need a good deal of chutzpah to make the leap and start a new business — but could it be that they’re actually setting themselves up for failure with such staunch independence?

Business Ownership is Lonely (Initially)

After coming up with a new business idea, creating a catchy name, and having a fancy logo designed, it’s common for novice business owners to be faced with the reality that they need a plan to make sales and generate revenue. 

Often, the most neglected part of a business plan is the marketing plan. And unless you have a background in marketing, there’s a good chance this part of your plan will be lacking in market strength and outcomes.

This is where the reality check comes in. 

Most new business owners realize that they themselves are responsible for everything at the start of their business.  You are the marketer, sales associate, administrative assistant, and CFO.  That means that ALL decisions are your decisions, and you don’t have anyone else to bounce ideas off of (unless you call your parents or best friend, who most likely aren’t business owners). 

When you hold all the responsibility, decision making, and ownership, and if things don’t go right, you will quickly realize that having a second voice in the conversation would be a massive help.  This is the point where you’ll start to remember the “water cooler” conversations and white board sessions at your old job and realize that all the independence you craved when starting your own business also comes with a period of loneliness. 

No One Succeeds Alone 

For many “gig economy” and solopreneurs working from home, remaining a “one-man band” can work, despite the loneliness.

If you’re trying to grow and scale a business, however, you’ll need people to join you on the journey — not only do you need staff to support you, but you’ll also need advisors and mentors to directly help YOU as the owner.

I know it’s exciting to start your own business, but assuming that you’ll have it all figured out is unrealistic. You may have expert-level knowledge in one of the technical aspects of your business, but since you’ve never owned a business before, there will inevitably be things you haven’t had the opportunity to learn about yet.

This is where humility comes into play: acknowledging that you need help and advisors as a business owner does not take away from the independence you gained when you opened your business.

In fact, it releases you from the new dependence you created by wearing all the hats!

Mentors and advisors have been where you want to go, and they can help you avoid costly mistakes while helping you get the time, freedom, and financial gain you wanted in the first place.

So, really, instead of saying “I’m going out on my own,” we should be saying, “I’m taking the leap in starting a business — and looking for people to join me.”

As the African proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” 

If you’re thinking of starting your own business or have recently started your business, the best thing you can do is find a mentor/advisor to be your guide.  It will eradicate the loneliness of business ownership and give you clarity on where you are going.  We all need help on the journey.