The entrepreneurial journey is like riding a roller coaster… backwards… and with the wrong prescription. It can be quite hectic and also very exciting. Some days you feel like you are on top of the world and others you feel like you just want to sink into the earth. Going it alone makes life a whole heck of a lot harder...that's why every entrepreneur needs a business best friend.
A business best friend is very similar to having a best friend in everyday life. They are there to support you and to cheer you on and you are there for them.
We were lucky enough to interview Shauna Cole who is the founder of Shauna Cole Consulting, a human resources consulting company to find out why having a business BFF is so important.
Note: Answers are summarized from our interview with Shauna.
How do you find a business best friend?
Often we already know the person so we don’t even need to go that far outside of our existing network. For example, Shauna and Joanna worked together at a previous employer where they became friends and helped each other out in the office. When they both started their own businesses the relationship was already formed and they were already asking each other questions and supporting each other. It happened very organically.
Add in: If you have searched everyone you know and no one seems to be a good fit, you can attend networking events or business mixers. Often people discount these methods because they look at them as being “fake” interactions, but if you can open up and be yourself, so can they. I tried this recently and it really...really works!
What if it doesn’t happen organically?
I think that in many parts of life, including business, we miss the conversation around expectations. We aren’t sure if our expectations are the same as what they are expecting from the relationship and we are scared to overstep. This doesn’t need to be a formal thing, no contracts need to be signed, and no lengthy terms need to be put in place. It can be as simple as “hey dude, I would like to meet every couple of weeks to touch base and see how things are going.” Without an arrangement like that, it can be hard to keep the relationship going or to feel comfortable to reach out. Make sure you are comfortable with how you see the relationship panning out.
Is a business best friend different from a mentor?
Yes. We can get caught up in semantics all day, but generally when we think of a business mentor we think about taking their knowledge to help us with our business. A business best friend is definitely less formal and a two way relationship. Just like your best friend, a business best friend is there to help you, and you are there to help them. You look at each other as being equal and are there to help with just about anything.
Is a business best friend only useful when you are struggling?
No. I think it can be more useful when we are in a place of vulnerability to have someone there who is cheering for us, but it is also important when we are at a high point. You might think that you don’t need someone when you are doing well, but just like a best friend, they are there to share the good times and the bad.
How is a business best friend similar to your business?
Career planning has many parallels. One big one is with vulnerability. When we are going through a big change in our life we are often at our most vulnerable. When we get fired or laid off we are extremely vulnerable and it can be valuable to have someone who is able to support you.
Having someone there is just a comforting place to be when you are uncertain.