Investing in a Brick and Mortar=200K, Purchasing new equipment=100K, Launching a Marketing Campaign=50K, Understanding that at the core of vulnerability is Growth=Priceless!
As Dr. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and partner of Oprah Winfrey's Life Class series : The Gifts of Imperfection, says it so eloquently, "Vulnerability is not about winning or losing but having the courage to show up and be seen." Such a principle can be applied to all facets of human life including running your own small business!
As the National Alumni Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses I have the honor and privilege to speak to alumni across the nation, including the UK to understand what they value from the program and what kind of support and opportunities they believe they need during the alumni phase of 10,000 Small Businesses to continually help them succeed. While, there are many concrete skills they would like to be further educated in like Negotiation, Competitive Analysis, Pricing, and Sales Pitching there is one common interest and request. They yearn for a space where they can celebrate their successes and experiences but more importantly, a place where they can be vulnerable again, admit to their lack of knowledge, bad decisions, and wrong turns and ultimately learn from each other!
Vulnerability at it finest is being able to reveal yourself with someone you can identify with, trust, and respect because you know they have the same values as you. At 10,000 Small Businesses , the most common value shared amongst alumni is the personal investment made in their business and the commitment to see it succeed to its full potential amongst barriers and challenges. Because of this they allow themselves to vulnerable with their peers, share their intimate concerns and are receptive to experiences and lessons learned.
A few months ago I was made aware that a scholar in Philadelphia was experiencing unexpected rapid growth in his business and felt very concerned and uncomfortable with how he should proceed in managing capacity. He requested to be connected with an alumnus who had the same experience with the hopes of taking away good, sound advice. I made the connection to an alumnus in Houston who has a very successful business and experienced the same kind of growing pains. All I can say is ...WOW! Something magical happened on that call. Ironically, all of the great advice that was shared by the alumnus was very much the same ideas the scholar was already thinking. However, it was in this place of vulnerability where both admitted their fear of the unknown that the scholar gained the confidence to move forward with his decisions. He needed to know he wasn't alone in his experience and most importantly he was supported by a person who shared a common value. Funny thing is they weren't in the same industry, same city, nor were they the same gender ...what was the same is their willingness to be vulnerable with each other and therein lies the spark of growth for a small business owner!
And so I say to all aspiring small business owners, take heed in knowing that you don't know it all. Your passion in your product and or business will get you to the horizon but if you want to soar beyond the horizon be courageous, be seen and choose to be vulnerable!
This post is part of a series of posts by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses graduates to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month click here. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.
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