Many of us have a trusted circle of advisors to whom we turn for insight and guidance on all sorts of issues, like career-building, starting our own companies, investing, and business development. Our trusted circle of advisors may include friends and family, mentors, colleagues, and friends of friends.
We carry these people, our trusted circle, around with us like a well-worn blanket, the kind we had when we were children and refused to part with – even when that blanket had become so well-worn with our love that it was nothing more than a tangled mass of fibers.
We never saw our blankie that way. To us, no matter how degraded it became, we continued to see only the pristine, soft, and reassuring blankie what was a constant comfort to us along life’s travails. Perhaps the most famous blankie-carrier is Linus van Pelt, from the comic strip Peanuts®.
How worn is your business blankie?
Your competitors, investors and customers, regarding you and your trusted circle of advisors from the outside-world-looking-in, may consider your business blankie as something of an old-boys or sorority network. Perhaps you still hang out with everyone from your high school or country club. Any way you choose to look at this, from their perspective, your blankie is well past its prime purpose.
Your business blankie may not be serving you well in today’s globally competitive economy.
While I’m not suggesting you abandon the trusted circle, those folks whom you feel have had your back throughout the years, you may need to make a decision to take some independent steps forward. On your own.
Your dependence on your business blankie might be an obstacle to your moving forward as a business person, developing new products and markets, and adapting, adopting, and applying new strategies when seeking investors for your venture.
Your reliance on your existing business blankie may cause you to be blind to the addition of advisors who would complement your existing circle. Are you being more exclusive than you realize?
Your persistence in continuing to do the same things, with the same trusted circle of folks, and expect different results could be the greatest impediment to your company’s becoming not only a competitor, but a leader, in the marketplace.
It’s not going to be “enough” for you to take a few, faltering steps, engage with another potentially trusted circle of folks outside your business blankie comfort level, and then run back as fast as you can to your tried-and-true trusted circle of advisors. Whew! That was a close call. Back to your comfort level as fast as you can. Now where did you leave that business blankie of yours?
You will need to leave your business blankie at home. Perhaps you will need to pack it away with your mementoes, to be occasionally taken out and fondly regarded, from time to time. It’s long past serving its original purpose. It’s tired. It’s time to relieve yourself of the burden of continuing to drag it along with you, wherever you go.
Do you have a business blankie? How worn-out is it?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo back into small and mid-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical start-ups seeking investors and early customers.