Building a Support Network for Growth

Arnold Schwarzenegger stood at the podium when he spoke at the university of Houston and said “I wouldn’t be here without my parents, my mentors, my teachers.” Essentially he was talking about his support network and In this article I want to explore the subject in more detail and provide you with a compelling argument to focus on developing yours, to accelerate your success.

I will explain what it is, the benefits of building a strong network and of course how to go about it. If you are really interested to know more you can join our Fireside Chat on this very subject on Thursday the 9th September where I will be sharing a few more ideas followed by a discussion with all who want to contribute. You can register here.

So let’s start by acknowledging the problem a support network solves. I think we can all agree that doing hard work in isolation can be challenging, and accomplishing daunting goals will inevitably require hard work. Often the big picture of building and growing your own business is simply overwhelming, especially when the realisation kicks in that it is more complex than you originally thought or you are lacking maybe in resources, knowledge or the right connections to make it happen.

The bigger your goals, the more you will ultimately need a strong support network to be successful.

So let’s define what a good support network is… A support network is a collection of colleagues, peers and mentors (Including family and friends) who provide guidance, encouragement and add value to your life. They offer advice, accountability, resources, perspective and feedback to strengthen your resolve and provide direction when you need it. A Good support network also provide a sense of belonging, increases your feelings of self-worth and makes you feel more secure. I believe even knowing you have solid relationships you can turn to in times of need contributes positively to your psychological health.

The Different Forms of Support

I think we can all agree that support comes in different shapes and sizes and not everyone in your network is necessarily appropriate for it all. Here are six key roles we typically seek out from different people in our networks.

Emotional Support

Let’s face it, we are emotional creatures and often need to know that people care or empathise with the way we feel. Emotional support helps us feel understood, resonating at a deeply personal level. 

Informational Support

These are the experts in our networks or simply the people/mentors who share experience and have been there and done it before. They provide suggestions, information, advice and knowledge to assist you on your journey. 

Feedback Support

Feedback support is similar to the informational support above, but instead focuses on information relevant for self-evaluation. Constructive criticism falls under this category and whilst you don’t have to agree with the criticism, you appreciate the perspective as you trust the intention behind the feedback.

Resource Support

These are the people in your network that provide you with tangible forms of assistance, tools, processes, equipment, financial or man-power etc. Typically they are making some sort of sacrifice for your benefit because they are invested in your success and have a philosophy of reciprocity.

Network Support

These are the people who believe in you enough to introduce you to their networks if they think it is in best interest of both parties. There is a reputational risk involved for them should things not work out, so you need to build trust with these people and certainty that you are a good fit. 

Collaboration Support

One of the areas I most like to see in my network is when good people collaborate on projects. This can be as small an initiative as appearing on a podcast to starting a new company to fish in deeper waters.

Identifying who is best suited to provide each form of support

We are all also individuals requiring different types of support to a lesser and greater degree dependant on who we are, our competency, confidence and experience. Each of the forms of support listed above are required in different situations and almost certainly provided by very different people in your network at different times.

For example, you are more likely to seek emotional support from those who know you on a deeper more personal level (Spouse, family or friends). They can provide a unique insight that others in your network may not have around the way you think or behave. Whereas a mentor on the other hand, would be more likely to provide you informational support or feedback by sharing their experience and offering their perspective.

One key factor is the depth of your relationships… the more you really get to know each other, the more likely you are to support each other in most areas if not all… And regardless of what form the support takes, I remind you of my point above… The bigger your goals, the more you will ultimately need a strong support network to be successful.

A few other advantages of building a strong support network.

The Board You Can’t Afford

Amongst your network you will have different perspectives, experience & knowledge spanning different areas of business. If you are indeed running a small business it can often feel like you are in it alone which is of course harder when you have bigger strategic decisions to make or come up against challenges. Through masterminding you can leverage the wisdom of your support network to help you through the bigger decisions, effectively acting like your board of directors.

As long as you have a strong network of professional connections, you can be confident that someone will be able to answer even your toughest questions. More importantly they will help you form the step-by-step startegy to tackle the bigger problems you face. 

An Incubator For Your Ideas

When you share your ideas with your trusted inner circle it is amazing how quickly they develop & become more tangible. Not only that, because people become emotionally invested in you, they then provide support to make your ideas a reality. 

Raising Your Profile & Building Strong Advocacy

Being actively involved in a network will help make your face known and keep you front of mind when opportunities come up that are in your wheelhouse. The key word here though is ‘Active’. The depth of your relationship with your network is key, being consistent and committed to building trust and regularly sharing the projects you are working on.

Personal and Professional Development

A great network also creates opportunities for personal growth, often sharing best practice knowledge, new business techniques, and helping you stay abreast of the latest industry developments. A wide network of informed, experienced people means broader access to new and valuable information.

Build Confidence

By continually putting yourself out there and being prepared to be vulnerable with your support network, your value proposition is more vigorously tested. Ultimately this helps you refine and evolve your proposition and just as importantly become better at articulating it.

Of course there are many more benefits and we would love to hear your thoughts & experiences of what your network has done for you on our next Fireside Chat.

Hivemind is designed to give you everything discussed above and we would love to have a chat with you to see if we are a good fit for you and your business… You can book a possibility call here.