You’ve taken on a new venture and things aren’t quite going to plan. You push forward with greater intensity, hoping this will move you faster towards your goals. This approach soon stalls, so you tweak your strategy and refocus, but still no traction. You persist regardless. Finally you have a win… validation! Things are now looking up, taking your spirit with it.
Two months pass, another lag… “Damn it!” Cashflow is depleted, so too your morale. “This is crazy! I need help and can’t do it alone!” you say, so you bring in a partner and raise money to get things really rolling. You invest part of the funds in a paid business mentor.
Twelve months fly by. You now have support, but your financial hole is inflamed and getting more excruciating by the day. To your dismay you realise you’re in the same place you were in 12 months ago, but now deeper in debt. To add insult to injury, you’re questioning your partner’s motives and being harassed by demanding investors. All seems lost, but is it really?
Giving up at the critical stage will always limit your potential. In doing so, this weakens your personal resilience and enhances your reliance on others. This transmutes into a hazardous mindset that teaches you little more than to lean on others when times are tough.
Raising money can work. Similarly taking on a business partner or paying a mentor can be a clever strategy. But these are exceptions not the rule. Especially when your business model is fundamentally lacking in substance or you lack a genuine passion and commitment to see your business goals through to the end.
If your business is struggling to gain traction, turning to the people you trust is your first option. Put your ego aside for a moment and be real and vulnerable. It’s essential you get candid advice here to assess your options. In contrast, when you pay for this type of advice you can often meet people who are pushing their own agendas. At this stage of the game trusting your intuition or making the hardest decision first can be your smartest option.
I say, steer clear of paid mentors. The best mentors I know don’t need to charge a fee, they simply get a buzz from helping people. You must know someone that is successful or well credentialed, a request to bend their ear will rarely meet with disapproval. Just be sure you’re seeking wisdom rather a desperate plea for help or money, this is a turn off for anyone.
Bring in a business partner with caution as most partnerships fail. To succeed the commercial fits must be logical and allow each party to uniquely contribute. When evaluating a partner there’s a courting process that is frequently misleading, it’s important to reveal your scars and true intentions, as the truth will come out eventually. Values must always be aligned.
Also consider who is really saving whom in the relationship. Or do both parties need to be saved? Overlook these critical pieces of insight and you’ll all go down with the ship.
Business partners will come and go. Paid mentors will move on. Money will be raised and then churned through. Before you consider being saved, invest more in your self-development and be willing to really push through. The best person to save you, is always you.
This article first appeared on April 13th, 2012.
Trent Leyshan is the founder and CEO of BOOM Sales! a leading sales training and sales development specialist. He is also the creator of The NAKED Salesman, BOOMOLOGY! RetroService, and the Empathy Selling Process.