All this media coverage on the Great Resignation (fantastic article on this topic by the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson) brings those sweet, sweet Johnny Paycheck lyrics to mind: “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.”
But less reported in these strangest of times is the surge in new business applications. According to an article in the World Economic Forum, in 2020, new business applications in the U.S. hit a 15 year high and have remained at peak levels ever since.
Despite the dismal prospects for startups that we hear repeatedly, I am hopeful for all these new businesses! We do live in an age where information is instantly accessible. But access to knowledge is only part of the equation. The reality is that no matter where you are on your entrepreneurial or business journey, you need access to resources in the form of capital and the people who have been there and done that.
Last month I talked about the importance of access to networks in my interview with Thrive Global, and in the spirit of National Entrepreneurship Month, I want to share a little more about why this matters so much.
Here is a snippet from the interview:
Access to a network is one of those things that can make success easier to achieve. In a recent HBR article, “How Venture Capitalists Make Decisions,” Sara Kunst of Cleo Capital noted that networks are a reflection of where we work and live. Because of how these networks cluster, the adverse effects for those consistently underpromoted, underpaid, and without peers to appoint them to boards and committees can be devastating to future success.
My recommendation for people that do not have access to networks of powerful and successful people is to create your own.
Get out there and meet people. Join boards, serve on committees, and attend workshops. Find ways to connect with people who are successful and ask them questions about how they did it.
In my early 30s, when I decided to make a better life for myself, I did not have access to a network of successful people. So, I sought board and committee appointments. Serving on a committee did two things for me: it expanded the people I knew, and participation gave me greater confidence in voicing my opinions.
I didn’t have a seat at the table for most of my early career, so I had to bring one. It takes a little longer this way, but when you don’t have access to people in places you want to be, you have to build the bridges yourself.
Networking is essential to success. It will help you stay on top of the trends, meet potential mentors, investors, and clients, and power your professional and business development.
If you are looking for ways to get involved, start by checking out your city’s website for boards and commissions open to the public. Your local hospitals, chamber of commerce, and university likely need people as well. Or, connect with people in LinkedIn groups or with nonprofits supporting causes you care about. Serving as a member of boards and commissions will be a tremendous asset for you and the organization. They get your expert help and elbow grease, and you get to expand your network!
Another way to seek support that I have found to be highly beneficial for answering tough questions is through the guidance of mentors and business coaches.
If you are one of the millions of entrepreneurs out there, I know the journey can be exhausting at times. Just because you can do it alone doesn’t mean you have to.
And for those who are not in the special hell that is entrepreneurship, please remember us this month as you are spending your holiday dollars! It matters!