One of the best ways a small business owner can build their business is by being accountable to someone other than yourself.
Why? Because it is harder to lie to someone else than it is to yourself.
Do you find yourself working alone, trying to set goals, and achieve them but you never get the results you want?
If you ever wonder if having an Accountability Partner or Group Can Really Grow your Business?
The Answer is YES. DEFINITELY!
Here is how it has worked for me and what it can do for you.
Working as small business owner and especially when you work from a home office, this means less ‘people’ contact than most who work outside their home or an office setting. Having someone to be accountable to will make a huge difference in your results.
The entire purpose of having an accountability partner or group is to have someone that you can discuss and share business matters with this keeps them from being in your head alone. You are accountable to your partner. You no longer have goals in your head that can be passed over week after week. You are sharing these goals – no matter how minor – and keeping yourself accountable to achieving them through your relationship with your partner or group.
I have had an accountability partner or group since the 2nd year of my business and it has made a world of difference in my plans and most importantly, my results. I have had different partners and groups over time as we have each grown and moved on. There have been a couple blank times in between without a partner or group too. The biggest lesson I have learned from these accountability partners and groups is that I see different results when I have them versus the times when I did not.
What is an accountability partner or group?
Someone, or a group of someones, you can discuss and share business matters, progress and talk through issues you are having. You are accountable to your partner or group. You give to them and they give to you. What do they give? Mostly time and advice and a confidential yet, listening ear.
The key thing to keep in mind is that you may need some trial and error to find the right group or partner to make it work for you. But even groups I have been part of that did not work long term, taught me something along the way.
Looking back over the past 9 years in business, I believe there are 5 key ways – and effortless ways really, as they just happen in the relationship – I know an Accountability Partner or Group will help your Business Grow.
An Accountability Group or Partner will help you:
1. Make your Goals Real. By openly stating your plans and deadlines, your accountability partner or group will keep on top of you to keep you accountable to your plans. You no longer have goals in your head that can be passed over week after week; they become real because you have shared them and most likely written them down and said them aloud. You are sharing these goals – no matter how minor – and keeping yourself accountable to your partner, to achieving them.
One of the biggest things I learned in my time attending the many Matrixx events with Personal Development leader, Bob Proctor, was that goals become more real when they are written down and spoken aloud. This is the same thing you do with an accountability partner.
2. Brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other. To grow your business, you will need to change and change means new things and ideas. An accountability partner will be there to bounce off new ideas, to talk through and to determine what ones will be viable to try. You will also have more courage to make these changes because you have someone rooting for you.
3. Offer advice on any issues or problems that may be dragging you down. It is very helpful to have another set of eyes and ears looking at everything. When you doubt yourself, an accountability partner or group will either agree with you or challenge you. They may have been in that same situation and can offer their experiences to help you move ahead.
4. You will Take Action. You make your thoughts and goals real with an accountability partner or group. This means you will work on them to stay accountable to what you discussed in your calls. Although not all ideas will work and not all goals will be achieved, you will have taken action. The only way to get results is by taking action. Being accountable for your ideas and plans means you will have to take action. A partnership like this will not work if neither party calls out each other when they are not progressing.
5. You will Grow by being the listening ear to the other party. An accountability relationship is a two-way street. You will find yourself being inspired and growing simply by being the advisor to your partner. When we act as the role of a mentor or advisor, it only serves to enhance our own leadership skills which then get applied to our own business. I have often learned many things by being the advisor in these relationships.
Your action step? Get an accountability partner or group today.
It’s a simple step anyone can take – you only need to find someone who will partner with you to plan for a regular (i.e. weekly or even bi-weekly) meetings – virtually or in person. My preference will be virtual because then travel time is not involved and you will all be more efficient with your time. Some people I know even check in more frequently but with a shorter amount of time and some make a point of face to face meetings once a year if they connect virtually.
I suggest finding someone with some knowledge of your business, but you needn’t be in the exact same line of work – though for some people, having the technical insight and point of view can be helpful. Both parties need to commit to the time each week – yes vacations and other interruptions will happen, but find a time that both of you can almost always be available and fully available to listen.
That is the best skill an accountability partner can have – listening. As you kick off the new year and the entire 12 months of this next year are a clean slate, start working on your goals and plans by being accountable to someone about them.
(PS. If you want some tips on goal setting, my recent article, Goal Setting for the Goal-Setting Haters, might help!
A Word of Warning:
If you find yourself not taking any action steps, you may need to change how you work together with your partner or group. A setup with an accountability partner or group should not be one where you chit chat and never move forward. If this is happening to you or your group, take steps to stop it – and if it does not, you may need to find another partner or group.
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