When you have a big idea, setting out to bring it to life can be scary. Now you need to find someone to support you and your idea. We’ve covered a lot of topics now and it’s time to discuss how you can find people to support your ideas. We’ll discuss a few options you have available to you. Mentors, advisors, masterminds, networking, and more will all be discussed. With the right combination of support, almost any idea can be made into reality. The resources below will be able to help you, no matter what size startup or business you are.
Mentors & Advisors
So let’s start with mentors and advisors. These can be anyone that has experience in your field, industry, or business in general. For myself, I have had a few mentors including a marketer, engineer, accounting, and project manager. These were all people I knew and trusted to give sound advice. Be careful that when you ask people you know to help you or be a resource to bounce ideas off of that they will tell you when you have a bad idea. You can find mentors anywhere, they come in all types and aren’t always older than you, they just know more about something that you do. I always suggest getting a SCORE mentor if you can. Mentors are a great resource for supporting your ideas.
You might ask, what’s a mastermind? It’s a group of people who all give input and ideas toward a common goal. You can join existing ones, like the one I’ve made for people with a strong vision, Visionary Mastermind, or you can make your own. A mastermind can be as big or as small as you like. It can be people you know or a group of strangers that can give constructive feedback on your ideas. The sky’s the limit on what you can do to build one, but I believe every company should have one, even if it changes over time.
Networking can be daunting by itself, especially for the introverts out there. I myself typically shy from heavy networking, but it is very potent when some thought and planning are put into it. Use networking to find people who you know are experts in your field and ask them a single question to help guide you. Networking doesn’t just mean going to networking events. Conventions, shows, openings, and social events all give you the opportunity to network. Make the most of these and build your connections. It makes finding mentors and masterminds easier.
This isn’t the case for every college or school, but colleges sometimes provide community building resources that include support for startups and businesses. Colleges are known for being a research resource. However, they have many other resources that they sometimes share for free or lower rates to local businesses and individuals looking for some extra help. In fact, I lived near a college that supported local businesses, big and small. They provided additional insight and guidance to the businesses to further grow.
Finding someone to support your idea isn’t just about the private sector. Not only do you have groups like the chamber of commerce, but there are resources like the SBA that provide support and resources to small businesses. Many cities have port resources, the administration that is tasked with bringing business. Do a search for “Port of YOUR CITY” and you’ll find some resources. Depending on your niche and background there are additional resources for businesses and individuals. Take advantage of all of these, this is your tax money.
When finding someone to support your ideas, make sure your values match. Even with things like courses, make sure your values match theirs. If they don’t, the advice and direction they will suggest will go against what you really want. Doing this will create friction you shouldn’t have. Because of this, the result will be more struggling than you need to go through to bring your idea to life. This isn’t to say avoid people with different views, but if your values involve lowering carbon emissions, someone who works in the coal industry may not provide as much relevant direction on your alternate power idea than someone in solar or something like that.
Bonus! Courses (Some are even free)
There are some amazing resources out there, and so much free content you can’t read it all if you tried. I’ve self taught myself quite a few things just through reading. There are more and more great resources out there for people starting companies. SEO, social media, advertising, blogging, design, engineering, and more. Colleges like MIT even have free courses and training. While these people won’t necessarily directly support your idea, there is more support out there than you might think. I’m not talking about just a random person putting some material together and putting it on YouTube. I’m talking about curated and intentionally created material that will actually provide you knowledge that you want.
I hope this gives you some direction to go in for finding support for your idea. Make your own path, there is so much more out there than you possibly know. Remember, even the experts use these to keep going and growing. You are never too successful or to rich to need mentors, advisors, and a solid networks supporting you. Find someone to support your ideas today, don’t wait.