"None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." – Mother Teresa
Guys! Collaborations are everything!
Recently an article I wrote was published in a local arts, culture and lifestyle out of Abu Dhabi – Out and About Style Magazine called "Of personal reinvention and the millennial woman". You can check out my article on page 104. I am thankful for the opportunity to share my musings to varied range of readers, especially since I have garnered more clarity on what I believe is my life’s course in this season.
As a female entrepreneur, I am always hunting for inspiration that will help me enhance my creative flow. Let’s face it, sometimes in the business of life as we juggle a million-and-a-half hats, all we want to do is shut down the computer, run a hot bath, watch mindless television, and have no one ask us about what we’ve got milling through our minds until we are ready to speak on it.
Because I often caught myself running out of methods that would keep me inspired during the pressure-filled seasons, I decided to be intentional in my pursuit to collaborate with other budding or aspiring entrepreneurs. Wow! What a wealth of knowledge I’ve garnered since I made the decision to get out more and look for ways to connect and join forces with others that shared similar interests. Let me go’head and share with you what lessons I’ve learnt so far this 2019 on why every entrepreneur should turn to collaborating with others so as to grow their business:
1. Reach one; teach one – and learn together. One of the most rewarding parts of being an aspiring or growing entrepreneur is the learning curve. We all make mistakes from time to time on our hustle course. We also stand to grow from those mistakes when we see them as lessons to do better and equip ourselves for profits which may in fact take a little while before they come round. Some of my most prolific lessons have come from reaching out to others and learning more about how they have succeeded in the game of growing their small businesses. Reach out and ask that person you’ve been following on social media for a chat or a coffee. You’ll be amazed at just how many insightful pieces of advice you can receive if you actually step outside of your comfort circle and connect with others that are motivating you to grow.
2. Dose of inspiration much? Yeah – brain freeze, writers’ block, the struggle to visualize the things you want to see come together – yeah that! In the rolling hills of routine you can quickly fall off your inspired drop-top and find yourself riding in a wagon of cluttered thoughts. Banding together with another small business or entrepreneur for any venture offers you the opportunity to learn a more efficient way of getting anything done. Getting out of your own way and tapping into the fresh ideas of others is a sure way to have you ramp up whatever you’ve got going on through a fresh set of lenses. Trust me – I know this. Co-authoring a book gave me the opportunity to learn how I too could inspire other aspiring writers to become a part of a book project. Shameless plug here – but stay tuned for the upcoming Reinvented & Victorious Anthology we have lined up for launch in the coming months!
3. Networking is everything in the game of growing your brand. Make new friends, build new hopefully mutually beneficial relationships and grow your contact list! Yes, these are but only a few opportunities that become available to you when you collaborate with others through having met them through networks. I know for me – a lot of the people that have bought my books or attended my events became connected to me through having attended some networking groups or collaborating with an entrepreneur to create something that brings people together.
Successful hustlers know how to make new connections and form alliances that result in noteworthy benefits for every one seated at the able. The more people you get to know, the greater the likelihood that they will support whatever you’ve got going on. So again sister-friend; don’t shy away from networking and fostering new friendships. Word-of-mouth marketing is the greatest and cheapest way to grow your brand, and that will only come when you get to know more people, master the art of pitching your brand or services, converting them to sales and doing a good job with keeping your customers happy. Get where I’m going with this?
4. Collaboration can help cut your costs. Sometimes the money just isn’t enough – especially when you are starting off. You can’t afford a storefront, or maybe it doesn’t make sense to have one if you are a one-woman machine. Collaboration has done wonders for me in managing costs, especially when planning an event or launching a new product line or initiative. Instead of going at it alone, try bringing together a gang of your friends to curate something special that will help you all garner visibility for whatever you’ve got going on. Further to that, cross-promoting through social media or print collaterals will help you leverage the publicity efforts of each other to hopefully make your project a success. You can almost guarantee success if all of you are equally vested in the success of whatever project you are rolling out. So – don’t bear the costs alone if you can find like-minded people to work with get in the kitchen with you!
5. Problem-solving and that thing about power in numbers. Simply put, you can always garner more traction when you mobilise resources. Like I said in a preceding point; there is just no need to go at it alone if you can bring others along for the ride. Numbers are always impactful, and create efficiency if managed effectively. Obviously there’s always a danger in having too many cooks in the kitchen, but for “adulating-sakes!” - figure out a way to work with others to solve problems, brainstorm and simply get things done.
6. Collaboration to win! A story is told of two ladies in Harare, Zimbabwe, who created a bespoke outdoor concert that would bring together emerging artists once a month. They coined this monthly event “Unplugged Zimbabwe”, which became a hit for families looking to enjoy good music from local talent in the outdoors, with a picnic basket, wine or whatever tickled one’s fancy. This event grew – fast, to a point of attracting sponsorship from corporate institutions, participation from entrepreneurs and so much more. Since then, when I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to go home, I have marveled at the number of such events being hosted in Zimbabwe – some of them more niche and tailored to designers, wine connoisseurs, foodies, musicians and so on. That to me is emblematic of collaborations that result in a win-win for everybody involved.
Collaboration – “the action of working with someone to produce something” says a quick Google Search. If you are a budding entrepreneur, the goal should always be to work with others to produce something solid, and needed in the communities we call our own. Whether you call it partnership, alliance-formation or association – get with it! Trust me when I say this – there is more to gain from taking this route in your entrepreneurial journey than going at the hustle alone.
"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." – Michael Jordan