Who is your Banker, Accountant, Insurance Broker, and Lawyer? As a business owner you can readily identify these key relationships that were needed to get your business off the ground.


If you want to grow, what relationships do you need beyond the four above? The greatest growth for entrepreneurs occurs when they have strong supporting relationships.


Let’s focus on you as the business leader. How do you need to grow?


Here are some recommendations to consider.


Do you have a mentor? If not, find one.


It can be an individual, a team of advisors, or a mastermind group. Find someone who has; “Been there and done that.”  Mentors have experience in the business sector or profession and can give specific advice. This is a relationship through mutual agreement. The cost is the time invested by both of you.


How about a coach? The difference between a coach and a mentor; the coach is not necessarily an expert in the exact business sector. However, your coach will have expertise in drawing out answers from you. They will bring different perspectives, challenge your thinking, and help you build clarity on the direction you are taking your business.  A coach is usually a trained and certified professional paid for their services.


Next, think of where you engage your clients. If you work in a geographic region, consider geographic relationships. If you are virtual or international, how can you connect with others in a similar situation. What would be most valuable?


Personally, I am a member of groups locally, virtually, and by business sector. By sector I am in different groups to support my growth in the several areas of coaching:  leadership, team, and career transition. What makes sense for you?


You may join a group based on the sector of your business, say manufacturing. You may also join groups focused on areas of your business such as, marketing or logistics.


Groups to consider. Think about researching mastermind groups. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are by sector i.e., real estate, e-commerce, consulting, government contractors. Others are general such as small business owners. They will meet regularly and have some kind of payment to be a member.


Local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Centers, APEX Accelerators (government contracting assistance), and private professional organizations are valuable to explore.


Consider exploring incubators, accelerators, and state and local government programs with the mission to assist entrepreneurs. Most will require an application process as they are focused on a specific, such as; size, business sector, or demographics.


A must have for every small business is a relationship with a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They are the local arm of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and provide counselors, training, education, advice, and other resources for business owners. Many services are free or a very low cost.


As an entrepreneur you will be building a small eco-system to support your development and the development of your business. Your growth will be significantly affected by the relationships you build and maintain.


To grow as an entrepreneur be strategic and deliberate with your relationships.


Did you miss the previous blog post in the entrepreneur series?  Find it here.