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Best Tip For Success In Starting A Business

Mar 29, 2011

I started my own business in January, 2010, and with over a year under my belt, I’ve learned a fair amount.  There have been ups and downs, successes, and…  let’s call them lessons learned.  There is one lesson, though, that I think is the single most important, and I’d like to share it:  The most valuable asset you have is your network.  (If you don’t believe me, take a look at the advice from two other entrepreneurs in “How to transition from Corporate Executive to Small Business CEO”.)

I had worked in large companies for most of my career (prior to starting my own practice as a part time CFO and partner at B2B CFO®).  Fortunately, I genuinely enjoyed my co-workers and have stayed in touch with many of them over the years, even as I changed jobs (or moved across the country).  When I took a leap of faith (in myself and my career), I was very humbled and touched by the support I received from these same friends and co-workers.

I frequently take calls from individuals who have heard or read about B2B CFO® and are interested in joining us.  They have many questions about the Company, the Founder, the other Partners, and what to expect in their first year(s).  I remember this diligence process because it’s very fresh – I myself called about a dozen partners in the fall of 2009 with similar questions.

The one piece of advice that I am sure to share with each of them is that it will be critical to their success to have a network of people to help them succeed. 

Some of my friends have worked with the same company for many years.  They associate with current co-workers and attend Company sponsored events.  In the unfortunate event of a reduction in force, these are the friends who struggle the most to find a new place to call their professional home.

It’s critical to maintain interests OUTSIDE of your conventional employer.  This might be volunteer work, professional associations, athletic clubs, coaching, or any number of other options.  Not only will these activities help you to stay balanced at times when your job is overwhelming, but they will also provide you with a safety net and a sense of security that your job isn’t your whole life.

If you’ve been letting your network slide, consider reaching out to an old friend for lunch or coffee.  Update your LinkedIn profile.  Join a professional association.  Get out there and get connected. 

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A collection of books from B2B CFO® to help any business succeed. Read the first chapter from books, including the Wall Street Journal’s book, for free.

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