A sense of loneliness can be a hurdle to growing and prospering in your practice. Solo practitioners aren’t the only ones who suffer. Even with employees, it’s all too easy to spend hours upon hours in isolation, and that can bring down your mood, energy and motivation, as well as dull your senses, ultimately taking its toll on your practice.
You need company.
It’s important to develop a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs. Networking gives us the shot of triple-vitamin C that all solopreneurs need: community, collaboration, and connection.
For starters, networking can:
- Be a source of referrals
- Provide emotional support when you’re overwhelmed, discouraged or lonely
- Bring opportunities for brainstorming, with the other party bringing fresh ideas and perspectives that you can apply to your practice
- Serve as encouraging examples (or in some cases, cautionary tales)
- Share information
- Collaborate on a special marketing project or event
A robust network will include people from both the accounting profession and other professions.
Fellow accountants can enhance your understanding of industry-specific issues and may be a source of industry news and trends. A
s for others, consider for a moment all of the service providers in non-competing businesses who service the same markets you do. Look for opportunities for mutual mentoring, creative collaboration, expense sharing and cross-referrals.
If you’ve already got a network of “business buddies”, make it a point to reach out to them on a regular basis. It could be as simple as meeting for lunch or coffee.
Or, if you’ve got the time and motivation, you might want to organize a cocktail mixer so your entire network can get to know each other.
Encourage guests to bring a friend – preferably someone you don’t already know. It’s an easy way to expand your network quickly.
If you don’t yet have a network, make it a priority to build one. Get out into your community and mingle.
- Attend networking events, seminars, classes, and other gatherings.
- Look for online communities as well, in places like LinkedIn Groups where you can interact with people in your geographic area, your industry, and with shared interests.
- You can even connect with graduates from your alma mater or fellow ex-employees from a particular company.
As a practice owner, interacting with your fellow entrepreneurs is healthy for you and your firm. “No man is an island”, it’s been said.
Make it a point to get off your island from time to time, and invite others onto yours.
You never know how a new connection might contribute to the growth of your practice – and perhaps in ways you never imagined!