As entrepreneurs and small business owners, we are notoriously hard-charging people. We know how to get it done, make it happen, and squeeze the maximum productivity out of our 24-hour day.
We also enjoy giving back, our time and our talents. What we (or maybe this is just me) find difficult is to receive. It’s harder than dancing on the head of pin to give up control, not to micro manage, to let others take complete ownership of any part of our “baby.” It is most challenging of all simply to stop and listen to good advice.
For several years now, I have been running two parallel consulting businesses: one, focused on entrepreneurs and small businesses, and one focused on more traditional corporate consulting clients.
Early last year, I was given an enormous gift of insight for how to take these two separate businesses and combine them to provide a broader service offering to the entrepreneurs and small business owners I most enjoy working with.
That gift was a way to take a complex corporate, enterprise-level consulting methodology for branding, messaging and marketing that I’ve been using for years; a methodology that was way too complex and expensive for small businesses, and make it fast, easy, effective and affordable for small business. That gift was a new product called 5 Easy Pages, a complete marketing system in five pages.
But I couldn’t create this product alone, and I didn’t have the resources, financial and otherwise, to just pay people to get it done. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but Boy was I blessed! Through bringing this product to market I learned a big lesson in the power of receiving. Receiving wisdom from the business owners who took time from their hectic schedules and businesses to beta test the product and provide vital feedback; receiving advice from wiser mentors who have walked this path before and could steer me away from the rocks that crater new products before they see the light of day, and receiving time and talent from vendors and partners who worked out generous options for payment or service trades.
My lesson for 2011: Sometimes it is better to give than receive. And sometimes it’s not!
This blog post is part of the Word Carnival series, created by the amazing small business blogger and consultant, Tea Silvestre. Please check out all the great posts in February’s Word Carnival. Please comment and let us know what you think.