Good teams are crucial to any expanding business, but employees are only part of the equation. Another oft-ignored set of compatriots are the people you might call competition -- the peers in your field who’ve climbed the ladder alongside you. Many coworkers or friends who leap onto the entrepreneurial path see one another as obstacles to be overcome, gunning for the very same success that you’re reaching for.
In reality, seeing peers as confidants rather than competitors is crucial to a business’s success. The relationships like-minded entrepreneurs establish with each other can both inspire and help them both on their paths. No matter where you find them, forming strong connections with like-minded business leaders can help launch your company to the top.
Here are some of the most compelling reasons you’ll want to establish and nurture peer connections on your entrepreneurial journey.
A better education than school
Business school case studies can’t always teach you about what’s happening in the ‘now.’ Peers who share their experiences give an education that can’t be obtained in any classroom. Likewise, getting peer advice on your own problems in real-time is a highly valuable asset, one that often goes underappreciated.
The boundaries between employers and employees can make it difficult for leadership to receive honest feedback from those who they work closest with. Confidants who understand the position you’re in can be a help in handling the most challenging parts of leadership and offer new insights into your most difficult problems. Constructive criticism from trustworthy peers can dramatically improve your leadership style, offering new ideas and refinement of your older ones.
Strengths to fill your weaknesses
The larger a business becomes, the less likely it is that one person can do all things equally well. Giving up control can be a great challenge, and that's where peers come in. If you struggle with certain management tasks, the strengths of your peers can help supplement your own with advice and mentorship. Doing the same for them in your areas of proficiency similarly extends your network and strengthens that entrepreneurial bond. When peers bring skills that you lack and vice versa, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
The best way to get new clients
Peer connections can improve more than just your internal operations. They can also be crucial to getting new business opportunities. Your peers’ connections are equally valuable, if not moreso, than the ones you establish on your own. Networking events can be great but not everyone always has the time to attend them, especially early stage entrepreneurs. Drawing on your personal network can yield much greater results than shuffling around a room full of strangers, so grow it any way that you can.
No matter what drives you to be an entrepreneur, forming positive peer relationships is a crucial element of your eventual success. How do you find peers that are a good fit? Previous professional experience, personal connections, and networking are a few ways. As with many things, it’s a matter of trusting your gut. Reach out to them like your success depends on it, because a great deal of it does.