Week 14: Help required!

I am sure that each and every one of us would accept that we cannot be good at everything that we do, or that we do not have time to do everything ourselves. And actually, I would suggest that it is in fact both. 

These are the times in our lives when by far the smartest thing to do is to accept that help is required. This last week was most definitely one of those weeks. Every single meeting revolved around that central theme.

The majority of my meetings are normally about exploring how I can help the people that I meet, but this week opened where the meeting was all about exploring how we could help each other. I had realised that I needed help with many administrative or technical matters that I simply did not have time – and probably ability – to do, and at the same time it was apparent that I could help them by referring other potential clients in their direction in the future.

Next up was an informal chat about helping to shape ideas for a startup and indeed what needed to be done. By happy coincidence this was exactly the topic of my article in the November print edition of Startups Magazine. But yet again the power of networking was involved as quite unexpectedly some interesting introductions were made in both directions as a result of the meeting. Showing, as ever, that just by doing things for the right reasons have ways of benefiting all.

The following day was taken up primarily with one long session but also with a few phone calls. All were about the next steps in refining exactly what type of help was required and what steps needed to be taken in order to turn a wish list into an action list. This is a crucial point for many younger companies – they know that help is required but they are just not certain as to what type of help they actually need, and therefore who is best placed to provide the help. In my experience, much of the problem is that early stage companies simply do not have the financial or manpower resources to follow all of the potential leads and so it is crucial to help them to focus on what should be done, in what order, and when, in order to maximise their chances of success. This particular long session was extremely productive and produced many follow up actions and a specific timeline.

I also attended an event that was focussed on younger women that had realised that help was required in getting their finances into shape – some only had basic knowledge whilst others had much more comprehensive knowledge but all were keen to learn more. Whilst knowledge is not always power, I would certainly say that the lack of knowledge is always a weakness and so every opportunity and offer of help to increase knowledge should be taken.

The NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator ran another Power Panel – a type of Dragon’s Den – where I was one of the Mentors, and the founders of three early stage businesses presented their companies. Each had volunteered for this grilling as they knew that help was required and they were taking the opportunity to gain an outsiders views on what they were doing and how they were doing it. All these companies were very impressive and all should have a great future, but all had been smart enough to realise that help was required. It was also interesting to note that each required help in different areas.

And there it was, another week gone, but one where hopefully everyone that had accepted that help was required had ended the week more knowledgeable and better placed than they had started the week. By accepting help, not only can it greatly increase the chances of success but it widens and deepens our personal network and is almost guaranteed to reduce stress also, so how can any of that be bad?!