Later this month, we will graduate another cohort of our funding a business class. Soon, they will go out and raise money for their businesses. Even for experienced fundraisers, it can be challenging to ask people to invest in your business. As I reflected, I realized the challenge is not just about asking for investment, but about asking for support in general.
For many entrepreneurs, the idea of asking for support brings up all sorts of fears and anxieties. We’re worried that asking can be perceived as a weakness and that we don’t know what we’re doing. We’re afraid of rejection because we view it as a strike against our business. When someone does offer to help, we might even sabotage it because we’re concerned that person may not provide exactly what we want or their help might come with strings attached.
It takes a strong person to admit your own limitations and admit to yourself that you need help. It takes even more strength to ask others for support and allow yourself to receive that support. But, reaching out for support can greatly increase the chances of your business’ success. Here are just a few ways you can benefit by asking for support.
The early stages of starting and running a business can feel very lonely. You might feel like the burden of creating a successful business falls solely on your shoulders. That’s a lot of stress that can negatively affect your emotional and physical wellbeing. When you enlist the emotional support of people who care deeply about you, such as your family, friends, co-founders, and other members of your community, you can more effectively cope with the ups and downs of building your business.
Energize New Thinking
There are many things you don’t know when you start a business. By seeking out others who have experience building businesses, listening to their approaches, and asking for advice, you gain more knowledge and different perspectives. This energizes new thinking and leads to breakthroughs in developing strategies, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles.
When you ask for support, you give others the opportunity to share their knowledge, talents, and gifts. You are saying you value their gifts and trust them to be a part of this venture you hold so dear. When you allow yourself to genuinely receive their support, they experience joy from giving. This exchange builds a stronger bond between you and them.
Become More Relatable
As entrepreneurs, we sometimes pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. Being self-sufficient is good, except when it negatively affects our ability to ask for help. When you focus on trying to figure everything out by yourself or think you can do everything better than anyone else, you are being dishonest with yourself and may look conceited to others. Asking for support shows others you’re not perfect, and you acknowledge your success comes from the help you receive from others.
Grow Your Business
When you reach out and ask for support, you’re also getting the word out about your business. It’s an organic approach that can boost brand awareness, build community, and lead to customer and partner referrals, investors, and other resources to grow your business.
It’s difficult to get what we need, if we don’t ask for it. Rather than taking the “build it and they will come” approach, start asking for support and engaging others early on. Your business will benefit from your courage to ask for help.