Asking for what you want is hard. Knowing what you want is much easier. Don’t spend a good portion of your time masterminding and talking about what you want during various stages in your business without taking the pivotal and final step—ask for it.
Let’s just say that you want it all and you’ll happily take it right now. However, I’m a firm believer that as entrepreneurs, we should accept "the process." I’m keen on how important it is to take definitive steps. After all, a process is a series of actions or steps taken to achieve an end...who knew?!
The fastest way to get what you want out of life and business is to ask for it. It must seem like a mundane concept, I know. But it works like a charm, most of the time.
In my personal experience, I've had issues with asking for help for two reasons: a) it made me feel vulnerable and b) I had a vague idea that successful people never ask for help. I was thankfully wrong on both accounts.
The quicker you master your fear, rooted in whatever misconceived notions you have about your abilities and your business, the faster your company will grow.
I mastered my fear of asking for what I wanted by making a silent pact with myself. I would purposefully ask for something on a regular basis: if I needed a contact, I’d ask for it; if I needed a recommendation for a new dog groomer, I'd ask for that too. The point is: each day I was, and still am, learning to become comfortable with asking for what I want.
Successful people often take pleasure in helping, giving advice and revealing gems of insight. To that end, most 'unsuccessful' people would rather tell you to "bugger off" (in my slightly strained British vernacular). I don’t recommend that you consult with the latter anyway!
If you’re ready to catalyze your business take the following steps today:
- Take inventory of your current business ideas and needs—make a list.
- Consolidate your list by functional area (i.e. marketing, sales, customer service, etc.)
- Brainstorm and develop a list of potential experts and associates in each area.
- Create a concise email to introduce yourself, communicate your need and offer your support to help your new contact meet his or her goals. Don’t even think about receiving without giving.
- Ask for a brief five-minute call. Give them an opportunity to graciously bow out.
This may seem contrived, but understand that it's a numbers game. Don't get caught up on who doesn't respond, who says no and who won’t be your friend. In my stern yet sympathetic friend tone, "Cry a river, build a bridge and get over it."
You should only be interested in developing partnerships with people who have the time to commit, understand the potential value and are ready to act. And if they aren’t a match, be gracious; ask them if they know of anyone who you should contact and move along. Not every opportunity is right for everyone at any given time—it’s not personal.
I’m convinced that some partnerships, deals and opportunities are simply meant to happen. There is someone literally praying that someone like you would miraculously fall from the sky to help them on their journey too. If you disagree, think back to the various stages of your business—you were likely one of them. We all were, are or will be.
The moment you develop the gumption to "show and tell" your vision and follow up to close the deal—asking for help—the whole world will promptly step aside. Why? For me it was simple, I knew where I was going and like Nancy Sinatra, "these boots were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do."
Instead of moping around your office, "back and forth, back and forth" in your Badgley Mischka stilettos or Born Airdam Mocs, "stop, think, and ask!" Who’s ready to help me today? More importantly, what are you willing to give along the way?
If you have a vision for your business, then it is your duty to bring it to fruition—period. What are you ready to ask for?
Erica Nicole is a serial entrepreneur, syndicated columnist, small business expert, national speaker, Christian thought leader and founder of the internationally acclaimed and award-winning small business news site, YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed. She is also a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business's development and growth.