We've all heard the cliche's and buzzwords promoting collaboration...."None of us is as smart as all of us." --Ken Blanchard, "It takes two flints to make a fire." --Louisa May Alcott. These types of quotes were tossed about in my former corporate setting as much as I utter the words "coffee, color and storage unit" these days. I loved and embraced the concept of collaboration at both paint companies I worked within. In both organizations I was assigned to the marketing arms of the business, which obviously supports sales but with my technical experience, I was pulled that direction often for development and creative input. I craved the diversity of the people and work/challenges. This collaborative interaction was where I thrived. We made mad progress. And when I met with my fellow color marketing colleagues for future forecasts....don't even get me started on what a high that was. Oh, the way the mind works when you know you are with your tribe....you begin innovating...solving world peace, curing cancer, well, at least figuring out that sock/dryer dilemma. You have to be in the room to experience it firsthand to believe it. Trust me on this.
Fast forward to entrepreneurship where one is an island (seemingly). One. Single. Lonely little being. Don't judge just yet. This is a wonderful place at this juncture in my world. It's fresh, it's challenging. It's rewarding in the purist sense when its time to reflect on a project and realize A-Z - all you. BUT, there's Power in Partnerships that is beyond measure. Partners (by my definition) can be one's favorite second-hand furniture vendor, favorite moving company that you can count on with 2-days notice, perhaps a hair stylist that makes sure you look your best (you are your brand after all). As a residential home stager, the key partners are realtors, builders, investors/flippers, and mortgage bankers. There are many more, but this is usually one's first tier. It can be tough to nail down those partners and to learn who's really in for the long haul.
This past week I wrapped up a staging project that almost wasn't if it weren't for the persistence and positive attitude of a realtor and friend. THIS is the partner you want with you. The one that understands the value you bring and goes the extra mile to make sure you are engaged even when it looks like budget will be all fixer up and none left for staging. This is the partner that while you are recovering from surgery sends you photos to approve, performs the heavy lifting (literally) and carpools you to and from the property for the final propping the day before photoshoot!
Owning your own small business is not for the uninspired. If you don't have employees or only have contract or part time help, it can be maddening especially if you come from an environment of open workspaces and "teams". I find getting out of the home office and to a public / wi-fi friendly space like a coffee shop or cafe' is so refreshing. Make appointments with your clients, vendors, adjacencies at least 2-3 times a week if you can. You know you need to anyway. Nurture those that "get it" (by the way, you can curate that list as an entrepreneur rather than it being dictated to you).
And definitely let your peeps, your partners in crime, your go-to's know how much you appreciate them.