By Claire Anderson, WEV Santa Barbara Program Coordinator
Have you ever put together a unique, fun, and perhaps daring outfit that you love and then heard these words as you’re walking out the door? “Oh, is that what you’re wearing?” When such a question is posed by someone whose opinion you value, you may immediately begin to question yourself. All of a sudden your once proud and confident presentation is subtly taken over by doubt.
In life and business it is important to surround yourself with people who are careful not to casually or deliberately doubt and discredit your ideas and decisions. There will never be a lack of naysayers, so be intentional about building relationships with people who believe in you and want to actively support you in your business venture. As clients enroll in WEV’s Smart Entrepreneurial Training program, we ask if they have a support system in place to help them complete the course and ultimately succeed in business. “Yes, everyone loves my idea,” or “I’m sure my spouse can watch the kids while I work on my business plan” are common answers that don’t necessarily address the question.
In any endeavor or life change it is important to identify the type of support you need to be successful. By definition, support means to bear (all or part) of the weight of something. As you work to open or grow your business, first assess the types of support it may require. At WEV we recommend establishing tangible, emotional, and peer support. Is it something physical like babysitting or getting dinner on the table? Or is it emotional—a friend willing to sit with you at a coffee shop while you research, or something as simple as a word of encouragement? It can also look like time spent with peers who can offer you accountability, like-mindedness, and shared business experiences. Likely, you will need some combination of the three.
Be honest and specific with yourself about your needs. Once you have clarity, search out a team of people to meet them. As you pursue your business dreams, clearly communicate your developing passion and vision to those around you, inviting them to be a part of the journey. Remember, even those who want to support you may truly not know how, so be sure to manage your expectations when asking for help! Likewise, consider kindly releasing the naysayers from a position of influence in your life.
When you have a supportive team of family, friends, professionals, and peers you will not be easily shaken by a disapproving look or an “oh, is that what you’re doing?” Be confident in your ideas and be courageous as you ask for accountability, encouragement, and practical help. And as you receive support, be sure to offer it to those around you as well. Here at WEV we love providing support to our clients through training programs, loans, and consulting but it is never a one-way street! We are incredibly thankful for the support of our WEV alumni, Board Members, volunteers, and other community members who then in turn help us empower more local entrepreneurs.
Attend an orientation to learn how WEV can support you and your unique, fun, and perhaps daring business idea. We promise we won’t question your idea—or outfit—when you walk in the door!