BY J.P. HOGAN
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It's exciting, of course, but it involves taking risks ... and that can be scary. It's a lot like being a teenager, venturing out on our own, trying things, bucking the rules, creating new systems, following our guts, and yet it can also be lonely. So, much like teenagers, we often look to the only people we know will “understand” – our peers. This is how forums in associations like YEO and YPO came to be -- peer groups, in which we can feel like we're not alone, and get support, and interact with like-minded individuals who can shorten the learning curve. If you don’t already, I encourage you to find a group like this to get things out of your head. As Author Neil Walsh said, “To be sane is to be out of your mind. Get dreams, thoughts, fears out of your head and out of your heart, and share them with people who can share their learning experiences and give you honest, useful feedback.”
The concept of business leaders joining together in mutual support reaches back to the earliest days of these United States. Circa 1730, Benjamin Franklin organized a group of key businessmen in Philadelphia under the banner of “The Junto” (sometimes called the Leather Apron Society). The members of the Junto were drawn from diverse occupations and backgrounds, but they all shared a spirit of inquiry and a desire to improve themselves, their community, and to help others. The group met on Friday nights with the express purpose of assisting one another and other members of the community. Today, several such groups exist around the country, striving to provide the same opportunities for mutual support for businessmen and women within their respective communities. The overarching message is that you need not face the life of the entrepreneur alone. Together, a group of business leaders can provide one another the benefit of their collective experiences and knowledge. Make the effort to find (or create) such a group in your community. The mutual benefit that participants share in such groups is substantial. We here at iMatter can help you create your own Junto, or, if you already have one, let us help your group to go deeper and become more effective.