Finding Help as a Business Owner

Who’s The Boss?

At the end of 2023 there were over five and a half million small businesses in the UK (with 0-49 employees) accounting for 99.9% private sector businesses. As a business owner I count myself and a large part of my network in this category, and work as an advisor with many business owners. The vast majority could be described as the owner-manager with no big hierarchy. They are the main decision maker, the leader of the business, ‘The Boss’. 

Most people have some experience working for a boss. We naturally looked to them for direction and guidance or formal approval for recruitment, out of budget spending etc. Equally we had 121 meetings and if the relationship was solid, we could share thoughts and opinions with them too. 

You’ve Made It! Now What?

You are the boss. The opportunity to earn more and work less. Or at least that’s the dream. You have the freedom you dreamt of; nobody to ask permission from, no one to tell you what to do, no one to answer to.  

That’s the upside, but there’s also a downside. You are expected to be the final decision maker. Your employees expect you to have all the answers. The idea that you, as the boss, must be able to make all the decisions can become a burden. There are times when you just can’t let them know you are not sure of the right answer. 

To say, “I don’t know”, goes against your perception of a boss. In your head, it’s admitting failure and showing weakness. And that can be hard to live with, so you keep quiet. Otherwise, your employees might lose confidence in you, moral takes a nosedive and your team start leaving. If that’s what you believe they are thinking, it’s time to start finding help.

A Safe Haven For Business Owners

So rather than staying quiet you, as the boss, need to begin finding help. Find a place where you can go to work through issues and opportunities that you are not clear on how to solve or even how to discuss. If you have a business partner, co-owner or supportive life partner then you likely have that sounding board, supporter and motivator, someone who can hold you accountable. 

But if you are on your own, then who could you turn to? Who would hold you accountable? For many small business owner-managers this is where a peer group comes into play. 

A peer group provides you with a confidential group of business owners like you and an experienced facilitator. The group can offer all its members advice for the common challenges you all share. Peer groups are also called masterminds or advisory boards.  The name is less important then what they provide; support, advice, motivation, camaraderie and accountability. 

It’s a strength to ask for help, not a weakness. And doing so from the safe haven of a peer group gives you confidence to be open, try out new ideas, share your innermost thoughts and worries. Finding help should be a positive experience.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

The final twist in participating in a peer group is reciprocity. You are also there to help other people. You can share your experience and perspective to play a role in other members successes. 

Accepting that you need help from others requires humility and self-awareness, and having people around you who are willing to help requires social skills and Michele Sullivan illustrates this point beautifully in her TED Talk 

If you’re a business owner curious whether peer groups are the right choice to support you in your business journey, the best way to test if it’s a good fit is to attend a taster session. This consists of a couple of hours with other business owners to experience the power of the hive mind in the safety of a closed group. To try this out for yourself join me on my next taster session for To Be Honest Mastermind Group on 9th April.

Want More?

Have you found this helpful? Read our latest blog about Owning Your Business.

Read about the The Importance of Cash Flow.

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