Support · Brainstorming

Finding and building a support system as an entrepreneur?

Susan Mees

September 1st, 2014

I'm hoping to get thoughts around finding support throughout the entrepreneurial process. I get a lot of that from my co-founders obviously but was wondering what else you have found to be useful when vetting ideas, brainstorming, going through the tough stuff, etc.

Kevin Lentz

September 3rd, 2014

Hi All,

A couple responses here.  I am a big believer in face-to-face, and I get absolutely charged up sitting across from real-live people solving problems.  Skype and Facetime might work for others, but not for me as a regular tool.

The group I am in is not industry-specific, but rather is focused on entreprenuers/startups.  It was started as a solo-founders meetup (you can find a handful in different regions on Meetup) to provide structure, feedback and accountability to solopreneurs who are otherwise alone.  But it sounds as if there is a slightly broader need, so I am certainly open to inviting others. 

At this point in our meetup (in San Ramon), it is just me and one other entrepreneur, and I can't tell you how effective it is.  I believe we are both moving forward faster, in different directions, together.  So if we add one or two other consistent participants, that's just more good ideas.

If San Ramon is too far for you, check the other Solo-Founders Standup groups on Meetup.  I can't vouch for the other groups, but they were all started for the same reason.


Kevin Lentz

September 1st, 2014

Hi Susan, I have found that I get the most benefit from a core group (3-5 ppl) that meets regularly (weekly, biweekly). That way, the group understands our history, what we've tried, where we are strong and weak, etc. And the diversity helps to broaden the view from those actively involved in my project. Having recently moved to the east bay, I needed to find just such a group, so we have established one. It started as a meetup, but as people fell away through natural attrition, we are finding a good core group

Patrick Murray Working on something new. Reach out if interested

September 5th, 2014

Kevin's comment is spot on for what worked for me.  Every week I would meet with 3 close entrepreneur friends and we'd have a "Mastermind" group, based off of some of Napoleon HIll's principles.  Now we do Google Hangouts since we are scattered.  I found it's nice to work through problems with other entrepreneurial minds, and be held accountable for weekly goals.  We keep these goals on a Google doc we all share. 

Here is our normal weekly agenda


MASTERMIND FRAMEWORK:


1. One “you wont f**ing belive this” story. -OR- One cool thing we learned over the week, or an “ahh haa” moment.

2.  Goals from last week, and goals for the upcoming week.  

3.  One problem for the group to help solve.


Lisa Lane Founder at The Inside Lane

September 5th, 2014

Hi Susan, I am so glad to see this question being asked.  As an entrepreneur myself and working as a startup consultant in the Bay Area for many years, I refocused my consultancy to cover these very things as I saw a need within the startups I worked for.  Sometimes you need a safe place to go to talk about these things outside of the co-founder relationship.  I agree with Kevin in that having a core face-to-face group is ideal.  I call them Collective Charge circles.  It is amazing what people can do when they come together as a collective especially with brainstorming and feedback.  However when there is internal relationship issues, it's always good to get aligned and have tools to strengthen the foundation so it can handle the ride of entrepreneurship.  Hope this helps : )

Chris Rimple Product & Engineering Executive | Startup Advisor

September 11th, 2014

A few ideas:

- As others have suggested, check Meetup and other appropriate sources for entrepreneur-focused meetings that are already happening in your area.  Here in Seattle, GeekWire has a good calendar of recurring local events.

- Develop relationships with 3-5 people who have already been through what you're experiencing (not necessarily in the same industry/space), and ask them to become your "personal board".  You may or may not offer them compensation for their time, but trying to get a monthly f2f/video meeting with all of them, to discuss any issues you're facing and questions on which you want their opinions.  This is similar to, but not the same as having advisors for your startup, since your "personal board" is focused on helping YOU, and indirectly helping the business.

- Develop relationships with 3-5 entrepreneurs that have businesses which complement yours.  For example, if your startup is online medical billing, find another startup focused on online patient records.  Since you're not competing, meeting together to discuss issues across your shared industry and customer segment can be very valuable.



Susan Mees

September 2nd, 2014

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone - I totally agree that a supportive partner is key and even beyond that, family and friends who support you.  But not everyone understand the entrepreneurial state of mind and it can be helpful to to connect with others who understand the risks and benefits.

Kevin - did you start the meetup focused on entrepreneurship/startups in general or specifically around an industry/type of idea?

Tom Lemmons Founder - Nimbus, Ltd

September 2nd, 2014

Rachel, I think you are correct.  That may be my problem.  I live near but not in Denver area.  And I don't seem to find many other Entrepreneurial minded people in the area.

John Shiple

September 5th, 2014

Get to a coworking space, pronto! Surround yourself with like-minded individuals makes it easier to make connections.

John Shiple

September 5th, 2014

Get to a coworking space, pronto! Surround yourself with like-minded individuals makes it easier to make connections.

Tom Lemmons Founder - Nimbus, Ltd

September 2nd, 2014

That actually sounds like a great idea,  Kevin do you find that meetings are best when those involved are physically present together or do you use skype/email or ?  
I like Kelly have a great wife to talk things over with but we do seem to have the same ideas, soother perspectives would be beneficial.  That is part of the reason I joined this website, however I have not figured out how to get that benefit from it.  I have tried to invite a few people I know to be advisers and they all say yes, but most do not respond to emails very often if at all.