I'm a huge advocate of getting out, meeting people, and collaborating with others. I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, and the more we help each other, the more we’re all going to get where we hope to be.
One great way to meet, help, and learn from others is to get together for coffee (or water, in my case -- I've never liked coffee). There are 3 main reasons I think you should get coffee regularly with fellow entrepreneurs:
- Get a fresh perspective on your business. I'm constantly amazed at the fresh perspective others bring to my business. Every time I have coffee with a fellow entrepreneur, they suggest an idea or solution to a problem that I never would have thought of. When you're knee deep in your business day after day, struggling with the same problems over and over, a fresh set of eyes and thoughts is a great way to take a step back and figure things out. If you never get out of the office to refresh your brain and take a step back, you'll never move forward.
- Learn from what others are doing in their businesses. In addition to fellow entrepreneurs giving you their ideas about your business, you can learn a lot from what they're doing with their own companies. For example, every time I have coffee with Emerson Spartz of Spartz Media, I'm inspired by his data-driven approach to his company and the sites his company creates. Some of the best sources of inspiration can be from what other entrepreneurs are doing with their companies. And in my experience, people are always willing to help and share what they've learned from their own entrepreneurial experiences.
- Develop great friendships. Your network is your most important asset. Developing and maintaining relationships is key to growing your business and reaching the goals you've set. Having coffee regularly with fellow entrepreneurs is a great way to develop and keep up relationships -- and generate great friendships. I always look forward to meeting somebody new, or an old friend, to talk shop and see how we can help each other grow. I've found most entrepreneurs feel the same way.
Tim Jahn is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs Unpluggd, a website and intimate event series that helps entrepreneurs build their startups. As an active member of the Chicago tech community, Tim has made his mark interviewing hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the world. He is also a contributor to Tech Cocktail, Crain’s Chicago Business, and was previously a director of Ignite Chicago.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.