Want to be successful? Here are the types of people you need in your business

16th Jul 2016

When you work a 9-to-5 job, you are surrounded by coworkers. You have your boss, teammates, and direct reports who all surround you and help you (hopefully!) on your mission to do your job to the fullest of your ability.

When you are running your own business, it's still possible to have the same sense of community, but sometimes it needs to be more deliberate. When you are building your business community, here are the types of peopel you should look for in order to build towards success.


Every good entrepreneur needs to find a mentor or life coach. These can be college professors, business school friends or colleagues, or other business owners with more experience than you have. A person can have more than one mentor; you might have someone you call regarding marketing issues, someone you call when you run into a thorny accounting problem, and someone you call when you need some tips on handling a frustrating HR situation.

Building a directory of mentors ensures that you will have the resources you need when you need them, and means you won't spend your precious time reinventing the wheel.


Strong entrepreneurs don’t give up, however when you are running your own business, you will run into hard times. You will be frustrated, discouraged, and convinced that you will never get this dream off the ground. This is when you need enthusiastic supporters.

Enthusiasts are often confused with "yes-men" and are therefore devalued. Some people will agree with anything you say to your face, while they secretly either disagree with you, mock you, or generally just plan on riding on your coat tails until they can ditch you for someone better. That's not an enthusiast.

And enthusiast cheerfully believes in your mission and helps you set a strategy for your business. When you say "I'm overwhelmed, I give up," they say "You can't give up, because your project is going to revolutionize things and possibly put humans on Mars." They take you out for a cup of coffee, talk through the problems you're having, and don't get upset when you grab your phone and start tapping out notes because you figured out how to solve the problem.


The counterpoint to the enthusiast is the realist. Where the enthusiast says that you can't give up, the realist tells you when it's time. They go drinking with you after you close the door for the final time, and they buy the first round.

But the difference between a realist and a nay-sayer is that a realist doesn't gloat about your failure. When you're ready to conduct your post-mortem and figure out where you went wrong, so that your next business can be stronger and more profitable, the realist is your best friend in the world.

Friends and Family

And not work-friends and work-family. Real actual people that you choose to spend time with outside of work. To succeed in business, studies show over and over that you need to maintain a healthy, positive work/life balance. You need to have people in your life who will drag you out of your office, put you in a kayak (or on a bike, or in a wedding party, or whatever gets you out of your head) and make you do something that isn't about your job.

It's also important to have friends and family who understand not to do this on the week of launch, or when you've got a huge marketing push coming up. Unless you really need it. Good friends and family will understand the difference.

Partners and Employees

We started here by saying that entrepreneurs don't have a work family, but as a business grows, you tend to develop one. Even if you don't have your own employees, you can often create an excellent work family by frequenting the social media channels favored by your industry. Writers often connect on Twitter, for example, finding each other through bios and specific writing-related hashtags.

These social media channels become a place for entrepreneurs to catch their breath, talk for a moment about the frustrations and challenges that are both tied in to owning a business but also unique to a particular industry. A gig freelancer has a different set of concerns than a CEO managing a multi-national corporation, for example.

When you're building a business, don't forget to take time to understand the people you need around you, and invest time and energy at networking events, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and other events to meet, greet, and exchange contact information.

What types of people have you found to be most instrumental to your own success?

Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.