CF Saskatchewan Blog

Why Asking for Help is the Smartest and Fastest Way to Grow Your Business

  • April 17, 2018
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

If you weren’t an independent, self-reliant person, you likely wouldn’t have started a small business in the first place. However, while this self-sufficiency can take you far as an entrepreneur, it can also backfire at times if it prevents you from asking for help when building your small business.

At Community Futures, we are big fans of building supportive networks that can buoy your small business and skyrocket it past any challenges that come your way. It’s not only common sense, but also supported by plenty of anecdotal and scientific evidence. Read on to learn exactly why asking for help is always the smartest, fastest way to grow your small business today.

  1. The opportunity to leverage strengths and compensate for weaknesses

You possess strengths that are unique to you, whether that includes branding your company, providing excellent customer service, or selling your products or services… but the reality is, you can’t do it all! Rather than expending time and effort trying to improve your weaknesses when you could be leveraging your strengths for the greatest effect, reach out to people who already have the expertise you’re looking for.

According to Gallup, professionals who utilize their strengths at work every day are 80% more productive. This means your business can grow that much faster when you focus on your utilizing and growing your specific talent, while simultaneously offering others the opportunity to do the same.

  1. Warding off loneliness and enhancing wellness

More than 50% of CEOs claim to struggle with loneliness. While entrepreneurship is an incredibly rewarding journey, it can also feel lonely and difficult at times. Often this is a result of burnout—working too hard for too long with too little support, which can produce mental fatigue, irritability, and sleeplessness.

Asking for help from others is a great way to stave off burnout and ensure your mental health. This could be in the form of joining a small business owners’ association, connecting with other entrepreneurs and resources through Community Futures, or reaching out to friends and family. Just remember: asking for help doesn’t have to mean assistance with tasks like keeping the books correctly or hiring the right people. Emotional and mental support is just as important to your personal and professional success.

  1. Making the best use of your time

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. What differentiates the most successful entrepreneurs from ones who struggle is what they do with those 24 hours. Make each hour count to the fullest by outsourcing less important tasks to others—the ones that don’t need your undivided attention.

By delegating responsibilities and focusing on only the most essential ones, you can avoid the cycle of busyness and ensure real progress. For example: Maria Molland Selby, CEO of THINX Inc., uses Sundays to plan out her upcoming week in order to ensure that she’s focused on the right priorities every day, week, month, and year.

  1. Improving communication and leadership skills

Introverts versus extroverts, emailers versus face-to-face chatters… there are all kinds of communicators out there. Building a team of people with different personalities and communication styles—whether these are your employees or external consultants—can teach you to better interact with people dissimilar to you, and build greater emotional intelligence (EI), which is the ability to understand to and respond to human emotion).

This, in turn, can help you become a better leader and produce stronger business results! Research demonstrates a correlation between leaders with more developed EI (such as those who are strongly empathetic) and financial performance. The results are in: seeking help from others is a great way to bolster communication skills while giving your small business a boost.

  1. Mentorship can shorten the learning curve

77% of companies with mentorship programs believe that they improve job performance and employee retention. Guidance such as consistent mentorship or even occasional small business training is particularly important for first-time entrepreneurs, who are unfamiliar with many of the challenges or situations that come their way.

Learning from someone who has walked a similar path can help you get up to speed more quickly, saving you time and money while you build your small business. That’s actually the purpose behind Community Futures! Our experienced and helpful staff work with entrepreneurs day in and day out, providing guidance, answering burning questions, helping to complete business plans and acquire small business loans, and more.

You don’t have to do it alone. By asking for help, you’re accessing a brain trust of invaluable information that could save you months or even years of time!

  1. Developing beneficial relationships

Most people are more than willing to help their neighbor when asked—and in fact, asking for and returning favors can build meaningful, long-term relationships faster. It’s a neat psychological phenomenon that Benjamin Franklin employed to build his expansive network of lifelong connections. The theory behind it sounds like this: people are more willing to help you when they have already done you a favor, such as lending you a tool or referring your business to other customers.

That may sound counterintuitive because we all assume that doing favors for others—not receiving them—is the key to “cashing in” favors down the road and getting in someone’s good graces… but that’s not necessarily the case. Part of the reason is because people look to their behavior to demonstrate what they care about and believe. If they do you a favor, such as recommending your small business to a friend, then they essentially tell themselves that your small business is important to them. They are more willing to become a customer themselves even if they weren’t before!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other business colleagues, customers, and personal connections. Reciprocate when possible with kindnesses of your own, of course, but don’t let a lack of altruism stop you from reaching out to others for favors first.

Asking for help isn’t a weakness—it’s the best way to launch your small business to success.

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