Posted: Mon 1st Feb 2021
"With a Little Help from My Friends" is a song by The Beatles that got released in the 60s and one that I'm sure you'll be able to sing to on cue. Supposedly it was not released as a single, but fans loved it so much that it become one of the group's most enduring tracks.
My assumption is that the popularity of the song was down to its heart-warming lyrics, which will resonate with many - still to this day.
The song was sung by Ringo Starr who, unknown to many, suffered from imposter syndrome and was often riddled with nerves. Ringo needed constant support and persuasion by his bandmates.
… So, what does this song have to do with entrepreneurship?
The rollercoaster ride of running a small business can come with its ups and downs - as sales targets are met (up) or trading conditions weaken (down).
Friends can offer emotional support. They are that lighthouse in the dark, providing direction when all you want to do is turn around and return to the comfort and security of full-time employment.
Operational support is also offered by friends. Think about the people in your life that are first to like your Instagram posts, particularly in the early days. It's often friends, right? Alternatively, a peer network could or would be a potential source of financial capital if cashflow gets tight.
Let's meet a handful of members that get by with a little help from their friends...
> A cheerleader for me and my business
Fede said: "I can't imagine making it this far without her. She is always there to support me when things get tough, and to celebrate the small and big milestones."
Laura (founder of Palms Up Club) said: "During the ups and downs of the past year as a female entrepreneur, Fede was (and is) always there to cheer me on from the side-lines, helping me to keep on believing in myself - even in difficult times.
Being a solopreneur, I'm grateful that she's always there for me to bounce off ideas or just listen. And, most importantly, we can always have a good laugh and suddenly the challenges of being a small business owner don't weigh so heavy anymore."
> Sharing industry knowledge
Illustrator and surface pattern designer Annie McGee (aka Northern Bird Designs) has received valuable support through her friendship with fellow illustrator Rhian Keogh of Quack Animal Art. Having been housemates throughout their university years, the two found themselves establishing their creative careers in their late 20s.
Just after Annie had moved to Rhian's hometown of Warrington, they embarked on their businesses. During the early years, they supported each other at fairs and events across the northwest.
Annie explains: "Knowing that there's someone who I can chat business with at any time is wonderful. We now share the ups and downs of working from home, juggling family life, and building a creative freelance business.
At some point, one of us has been through steps that the other might not have taken yet. It's delightful to share knowledge and information, especially when it helps a great friend to succeed in doing something that they love."
We both virtually attended Enterprise Nation's StartUp 2021 event. I have a chronic illness and endometriosis, so I would normally be unable to attend events in person. It was brilliant to attend and was on one of the best platforms I've experienced for events so far.
We both found the Freelance Stage to be particularly helpful as it's new territory for us offering our illustration services B2B, rather than B2C."
> Joining forces and offering complimentery skills
Rishi Gupta and Pawan Saunya - best friends and co-founders of Zero Waste Club - won Enterprise Nation's Student Start-up of the Year competition in 2018.
Zero Waste Club sells everything from biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to organic pasta, beans, cereals and baking ingredients. Together they form a dream team as they bring complementary skills to the business.
Rishi is the numbers man! He helps to keep the structure of the business tight, ensures operations are running smoothly and is in charge of the logistical side of the company.
Whereas Pawan is all about design and marketing. He has a soft spot for simplicity and function. He is obsessed with good spacing in design, typography and enjoys creating beautiful systems.
Wondering whether to co-found a business and want to ensure you do it well? Watch this 'How to start a business with a co-founder' webinar recording with Enterprise Nation advisers and co-founders of we are radikl, Claire and Sarah.
> Building a support network
Paula says that: "Running a small business is hugely rewarding but can also be quite isolating at times so it's really important to build your support network. You can never have too many small business friends!
Chloe is the person I would speak to if I need advice handling a tricky client (shhh!) and does all my creative work. She completely gets me/the vision and has supported me with trying new things and will always be honest and tell me if something doesn't look good visually.
We collaborate on projects at times also when a client needs copywriting (me) for a website (Chloe) and share similar experiences as we both have children around the same age so understand the challenges of home schooling while growing a business."
Want to meet your match? New friendships are made within the Enterprise Nation network every day. Here are three ways Enterprise Nation can help broaden your network of cheerleaders:
1- Attend online networking meet-ups with small business owners in your local area
2 - Join online Groups and start collaborating with likeminded peers
3 - Participate in daily webinars and book free discovery calls with event speakers
If you've made a connection via the Enterprise Nation community or are supported by someone in your wider network, tell us about it and you could be featured!