Entrepreneurs are non-stop thinkers and innovators. Too much of this energy can lead to spreading ourselves too thin and stopping and starting various projects. We’ve all been there. To stop this nonsense it’s time to buckle down and find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is another person (possibly another entrepreneur) that will help you set, prioritize, and keep goals. She will help push you toward business success. Here are three considerations to help you find an excellent partner.
- A fellow entrepreneur that you respect. This person has high integrity. Perhaps you currently do business with this fellow entrepreneur. Or maybe, you know several of his/her raving customers. Either way, you look up to this person and value their opinion.
- A fellow entrepreneur that is methodical. Note the way this person writes emails and takes notes. Do they try their best to clearly communicate in bulleted form? Are they systematic? Are they reliable and do they follow through on their promises?
- A fellow entrepreneur that is proactive. If he or she doesn’t know a piece of information offhand, do they shrug their shoulders and give up or are they relentless in getting that information?
Once you’ve asked your entrepreneur-friend to be your accountability partner, it’s time to start working together. During your first meeting, agree on the frequency of one-to-one meetings. Are the meetings monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly? We recommend at minimum, that accountability partners meet once per week.
Be completely honest with your partner – especially when it comes to money. Anything less will not get you to where you want to be. If both of you use accounting software, it is easy to report sales and expenses to each other. For example, if your sales goal for 2011 is $40,000, it’s April, and your sales-to-date is $4,000, that tells you and your partner that you have $36,000 to go to reach your goal (you must average $4500/month between May to December).
Share research or keep your ears and eyes open for your partner. If you and your partner serve the same target market, why not share research? When you run across articles or statistics that may help your partner, don’t be afraid to shoot them right over as an email so your partner can read your findings at their convenience.
And finally, be completely transparent about your personal insecurities and really listen to them as they help you deal with them. Personal insecurities can include being intimidated by speaking in public, procrastinating when it comes to sales presentations, difficulties with negotiations, etc. We all have our insecurities. Those that face their insecurities head on (with a partner) are in a greater position to get back into positive thinking mode to overcome them.