Where You’ll Find Answers to those Burning Business Questions

Image of Question MarkGrowing up you received guidance from your parents (or guardian).

They told you what to do, eat, wear, when to go to sleep, when to get up and go to school. It felt like everything was mapped out. Easy, right?

Once you started school things were about the same. You were given deadlines, structured days were imposed on you, and you were fed plenty more rules and information every day.

The hardest part of your routine? Remembering and reciting the answers teachers already gave you so that you would score well on tests.

Then you grew up.

Suddenly nobody was there to tell you when to wake up or what to do. You (I’m guessing) don’t have mom or dad telling you it’s time to go to bed or that it’s time to get up and get to work.

It’s now up to you to not have that last shot at the bar. It’s your call whether to go to bed or watch late night television.

Now what? What do you do? Who do you see for guidance at work or for business or should discipline and direction come from within?

Business peer support

You may be on your own but you don’t have to fight all alone in your adult life. There are business coaches, enlightened mentors, and fellow small business owners just an email or call away.

Look to other entrepreneurs that are already succeeding at what you’ve set out to do. I’m constantly watching others and joining website subscriber lists just to get the inside track. I want to know what’s working (or not) for people more experienced than I am.

Why not? Observing other business owners is a free education.

Business associations

Heard of the Small Business Administration (for those in the U.S.)? Its purpose is to help and support small businesses and owners get up and running. You can visit their site here:

SBA website

While there, if you scroll to the very bottom you will notice links to help you start a business or manage one. Want to take it a step further and find a mentor? They have you covered with some resources on the Starting A Business page. It’ll look like this:

Image of SBA website

One noteworthy association is called SCORE. It’s the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Visit their site and you’ll be able to drill down by industry and submit a question you have, free of charge:

SCORE website

Here is a snapshot of the page where you can submit a reply.

Image of SCORE website

These are high-level contacts here. I’m not sure I’d reach out to these people asking which WordPress plugin is the best for picture galleries on your website. You could try. But I encourage you to think bigger, guys.

Also, if you read into the SBA site they give you advice on using trade associations to mine for mentors and one-on-one training to help you get a leg up.

Reach Out

I’m here for you too, so feel free to reach out to me. Most times, I find myself reaching out to some of you via email and contact form just to offer some help. But I’m also available to get further involved so consider working with me to frame up your next project.

There are mentors, coaches, trade associations and Government agencies waiting to help you.

If you’re stuck, are you ready to take action by seeking help and asking questions that will help grow your business?

Photo: eleaf



28 Responses to Where You’ll Find Answers to those Burning Business Questions
  1. Rob
    April 18, 2011 | 6:21 pm

    Hey Jon,
    SCORE is a score!
    I am going to try it and glean a little info that may just help a lot.
    I promise not to as about a WordPress plugin:)
    Live it LOUD!

    • Jon
      April 18, 2011 | 7:44 pm

      Rob,

      Welcome and thanks for sharing your thoughts and enthusiasm! Ha, well as I said you could try asking but don’t be disappointed if it goes nowhere. Glad you had a good take away from this article.

  2. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    April 18, 2011 | 9:35 pm

    Jon, aloha. Great advice. Far too often we think we have to do it all on our own. Not only do we not have to, it is not good business sense to do so.

    If we only ask and answer our own questions then, no matter how brilliant we may be, we are operating in a vacuum. We need that outside influence to bounce ideas off of whether we agree or disagree with what the other person says. We need to hear how our thoughts/ideas sound when said out loud.

    Jon, I don’t know about you, however, on more than one occasion I thought I had a terrific idea as it played over and over in my head. Then, when I spoke it and it saw the light of day, I could only shake my head and wonder “what on earth was I thinking?”

    Like you, Jon, I subscribe to many lists to learn what others are doing and how they are doing it. When reading someone else’s info, I may pick up one word or phrase that either switches on a light bulb for me or I realize its power to do the same for others.

    With the online world, advice, coaches and mentors abound–some free, some for a fee. What I would recommend is that a person follow someone’s blog, tweets on twitter/posts on facebook or some other social platform where they interact, to get a sense of who they are and how they interact with us.

    Jon, once again, thx for the solid recommendations. Best wishes for a terrific week. Aloha. Janet

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:04 pm

      Agreed, Janet. We shouldn’t try to go it alone – don’t have to!

      Oh I’ve definitely have a few of those ideas. The ones where I get all revved up and ready to act on them just to “wake up” and realize how lousy they were.

      You have a good strategy there following a leader on multiple channels. Great education for free. Thanks!

  3. Darren Spruyt
    April 18, 2011 | 10:02 pm

    Hey Jon!

    I’m sending you my greetings with my first comment on your blog! Many more to come I hope? (:

    I love the last point you made… I CAN FIND YOU! :)
    The truth about having your own business, especially online is to find people that you can be accountable too! By having accountability partners, the more the “pressure” there is to meet expectations.

    I have realised that we tend to work harder for OTHERS rather than ourselves and this means if we are working to meet the expectation of others towards us, we will do it much more harder! and by concentrating on others, you are also adding value to them.

    Thanks for sharing these resources and information! Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Regards,
    Darren Spruyt

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:06 pm

      Welcome, Darren!

      Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you around more. Yes, it’s wise and bold to find people to help keep you accountable. It takes courage and determination to say (aloud) what you will do – then do it!

      Concentrating on others and adding value, I couldn’t have said it better :)

  4. Usman@FirstHosting
    April 19, 2011 | 1:35 am

    Hi, Jon!

    I guess when we’re adult we automatically forced to do these things, because we know that there is no one after us to fix the things we are going to disturb.

    and we know that if we do some bad we’ve to sort it on our own, like going to bed late will harm us so we will take care.. but their are some exceptional cases as well. :)

    Regards

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:08 pm

      Usman,

      You betcha. Nobody warned us how difficult it would be at times to make the “grown-up” decision – haha. But you know what, every little decision counts. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Rowena Bolo
    April 19, 2011 | 8:02 am

    Hi Jon,

    You posted a very crucial point of reaching out to mentors, coaches and business people who have “been there, done that”. Being a solopreneur can be very challenging, and seeking out mentors would definitely inspire us in building our business.

    In my network marketing profession, I am just blessed to have found my mentors and coaches now. Aside from the support and motivation, the priceless thing that happened is that our mentors believe in us even if our belief in ourselves may be tested as we go through the process of building the business.

    Like you, I have also subscribed to many lists/RSS (but it’s very much filtered down to the most reliable resources now – your blog is one of them, btw :-) )…

    Thanks for these wonderful tips, Jon.

    -Rowena

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:12 pm

      Hi Rowena!

      You’re doing well in your solopreneur role so congrats. There are many times along the road we’ll be tested and our beliefs will be shaken. But I’m happy to know that you have a strong support network to keep you moving forward. I’m humbled and thankful to be among your RSS feeds.

  6. Jym Tarrant
    April 19, 2011 | 8:35 am

    Great resources Jon.

    And the point which brings you to share them is powerful. Even those who are on course can always benefit from others who’ve trodden the path before them.

    Accountability is such an important piece of the puzzle, even for the most self-disciplined among us, it can really make a difference to have a mentor or group to check in with.

    Thanks for the reminder and sharing these powerful resources mate!
    All the best,
    Jym

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:15 pm

      Jym,

      Yes! We can be on course but it doesn’t mean we have no room for improvement. Good point, Jym. Accountability is your friend and for me it’s been a blessing to be plugged into a few different mastermind networks. You’re welcome and take care.

  7. Jia Jun
    April 19, 2011 | 10:11 am

    Nice one Jon.
    I like how you express your words from our pass till present, it really connect with us.
    And I seriously agree with business peer support too, where I subscribe and keep learning from those who already achieve what I plan to do, especially building my blog and online business to full time income and even more.
    It’s like a faster path for us to success when we keep learning from other mistakes and success, it shorten and decrease our mistakes and wasting time within. :)

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 8:17 pm

      Jia,

      Excellent points. It may not be all that exciting watching others from the sidelines but if you learn well by watching others then it can shorten your path to success. Having peers we ethically spy on and ones that we can openly mastermind with is vital. Thank you for swinging by.

  8. Adrienne
    April 19, 2011 | 10:29 am

    Hey Jon,

    Well that’s some awesome information to share with us in this post. I know that a lot of times when we start out online we have no idea what to do, who to listen to, where to go for information, nothing. These types of resources are wonderful and although I was familiar with the SBA site, I hadn’t heard of SCORE!

    Reaching out to others is something we are sometimes afraid to do thinking that we won’t get any responses. But the ones who truly want to help, will reach back.

    Just another great source shared with us as you continue to always provide such wonderful resources and tips to help us move further along.

    Thanks Jon!!!

    Adrienne

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:48 pm

      Adrienne,

      I’m glad you found it informative. It’s so true that from the start it can be daunting because we just don’t know who to turn to. We’re rewarded when we do reach out, wouldn’t you say?

  9. Dr. Bob Clarke
    April 19, 2011 | 10:40 am

    Hi Jon,

    First time on your site and I love the feel and content! These are great resources for anyone looking to start a business.

    It can be so challenging to start a business, either online or offline, especially if you’re trying to do it while still working a full time job or raising a house full of kids!

    Thanks for the great information!

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:50 pm

      Hello Dr. Bob Clarke!

      Welcome and thank you for chiming in. It is a wonderfully challenging journey but gosh does it ever test us sometimes! May your paths be straight and clear.

  10. Hi Jon,

    When I was young, I’d go around the neighborhood and ask peoople if I could shovel their sidewalks after snowstorms. This taught me two things. You have to ask, and, not everyone says yes. Pretty basic stuff, but I still use it for any businesses I have started. Thanks for your information.

    Lou

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:52 pm

      Hi Lou,

      You’ve been an entrepreneur since childhood – fantastic. Hearing “no” and handling “no” are certainly two different things but it seems you have a handle on it. Thanks for sharing your comment.

  11. Tosin@Home-Based Business Coach
    April 19, 2011 | 12:53 pm

    Hey Jon,

    I’m here for the first time. Nice to meet you :)

    I see so many people who simply want to do it all alone and forget that the major reason they have been able to come to the stage they are right now is because some people have been guiding them all through their years.

    It helps to be in a mastermind community and that is exactly why the resources you have given us are so great.

    Thanks Jon!

    Tosin

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:54 pm

      Hi Tosin!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate your comment. Nice to meet you as well.

      You’d agree that it’s important to remember those who’ve helped you along the way. Mastermind communities are a blessing. They give you a lift when you need it and sometimes when you least expect it.

  12. Heather C Stephens
    April 19, 2011 | 9:06 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Great resources! I’d forgotten all about SCORE! I also find that connecting with other business owners through meet-up groups in our local areas, business forums online and a mastermind group have been very helpful to me in getting the answers I need to help me build my business.

    Working with a coach is also very helpful to me!

    Overall, I’ve learned that most people online are willing and able to help you if you just ask them for guidance.

    Thanks for reminding me of these awesome resources!
    Heather

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:56 pm

      Hey Heather,

      Thanks and I’m happy to have reminded you about SCORE. You make an excellent point about meeting local business owners; just because we’re online it doesn’t mean we should restrict our contact to the internet.

      It seems you’ve been pleasantly surprised by selfless people lending a hand, it’s a great thing :)

  13. Stuart
    April 20, 2011 | 2:24 am

    Nicely done Jon! You’re absolutely right, we don’t have to go it alone in this world, we’re all interconnected at a deep level!

    You’ve got your heart in the right place with your approach, and I know a lot of people will be better off after working with you :-)

    • Jon
      April 20, 2011 | 9:59 pm

      Stuart,

      Great to see you here again, bud! Thanks for the praise, Stu, you’re the man. I’m liking your new site layout and good for you with the Donate and Amazon additions.

  14. Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion
    April 21, 2011 | 5:04 pm

    Jon, this is a great subject you’ve discussed here that is not nearly addressed enough. We all need help. Heck, I think I’m a pretty motivated guy and I still need mentors, helpers, a kick in the butt— whatever. And in my book, paying someone to help can be the smartest move a biz owner can make.

    Well done buddy, love to see all your growth of community.

    Marcus

    • Jon
      April 21, 2011 | 8:16 pm

      The Lion Himself!

      Hey man thanks for sharing your thoughts and the community respect :)

      Yep, no matter where we are along our journey there’s always room for improvement. If not improvement then a swift kick in the rear end is sometimes exactly what we need. I guess even lions have off days?

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