Three Common Fears that Trick Us into Avoiding Collaboration

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Halloween is a reminder that there are both tricks and treats to being an entrepreneur.  On the “treat” side are the independence of scheduling your business life around your personal needs and getting to reap all the rewards of your hard work.  What we sometimes forget about as independent business people is that collaboration can be one of the biggest treats of all.

While those who run their own businesses at home tend to perceive themselves as solo operators, collaboration is as important for independent entrepreneurs as team building is for corporate employees.

Looking outside the home for inspiration, motivation and tips may seem counterintuitive, but in looking for collaboration, the social experience of a home business is broadening.  In fact, it directly benefits entrepreneurs by offering new insights and adding other perspectives that can actually increase sales.

The concept of collaboration can be confusing.  While at its core, collaboration means working with others towards a common goal, there are many ways to go about collaborating.  The first step is deciding with whom you’d like to collaborate.

 
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These might be:

  • Friends and family members – Those closest to you have the best grasp of your goals and work habits.  Although these are personal relationships, their insight can have professional benefits.

 

  • Former colleagues and classmates – People with whom you’ve worked alongside previously towards shared goals are likely to have taken similar paths and be at work and personal life stages like your own and would have valuable learning to share. 

 

  • Community and local business leaders – Why not go straight to the top for advice? You’d be surprised how many leaders are happy to counsel those on the way up the ladder.

 

  • Experts in other areas – While you might be in sales, you can benefit greatly from collaborating with those in other areas like marketing.  Even learning from people in manufacturing who can teach you about product development and supply chain management can help you grow your business.
 

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There are also different ways of collaborating.  How you collaborate and what you collaborate on with others varies greatly depending on what you want to achieve.  For example:

 

  • Networking – This is a way to meet new people and create a wider circle of acquaintances to rely upon for information and leads, beyond directly selling to them.  These new people can be vendors you might consider calling upon, such as print shops or food suppliers.  Anyone who works with clients may be able to offer potential sales leads as well.

 

  • Coordinating – Anyone who works with getting goods from one place to the next is involved in the business of coordinating.  This may include local delivery services or taxi companies.  Coordinating is as simple as bringing together a group of people who can help you get products to your customers.

 

  • Cooperating – It may seem like independent sales professionals don’t need to cooperate with anyone outside of themselves.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Cooperation is key in interacting with those you rely on, from contacts at corporate headquarters to the neighborhood mail carrier.

 

What can “trick” even the most motivated independent sales professional is letting fear of collaboration derail efforts to expand the business.  In my book Fearless Living: Life Changing Values for Breakthrough Success, I help entrepreneurs face down fears and walk straight into the future they deserve. 

 
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Here are three of the most common fears that trick us into avoiding collaboration and ways to turn collaboration into one of the best treats of having a home business:

  1. Fear of Working with Others:  Don’t let fear prevent you from collaborating with others.  Collaboration allows you to maximize their knowledge and expertise, in addition to your own.  It is a fact that working collaboratively helps you work smarter and makes amazing things happen.
  2. Fear of Getting Hurt:  Don’t be afraid to expand your community, support network and your worldview because you fear trusting others.  Develop a mindset that allows you to offer respect and accept the differences of others.  You’ll find that your respect will be returned in kind and garner greater opportunities to learn and grow.
  3. Fear of Being Compassionate: We’ve all heard “It’s a dog-eat-dog world,” and we might fear that compassion will make us less competitive.  That simply isn’t true because doing good and being able to relate to people makes you a more effective communicator, collaborator and leader, and it breeds respect.  And most importantly, it leads you to do things for the greater good.

 

As Halloween celebrations continue throughout the month, entrepreneurs have no need to fear the season’s tricks and every reason to enjoy the treats of collaboration.  Have additional tips to share? Post them in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you.

 
 
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