Business ownership can feel isolating if you don’t have other entrepreneurs to discuss challenges with, or to seek ideas and advice from. After all, having a community—even if just a few other entrepreneurs you occasionally grab lunch with—can motivate you and spark inspiration for how to grow your business.
We asked business owners how they network with other entrepreneurs for both advice and support. Here’s how they responded:
Joining an online book club for entrepreneurs
I’ve found that my most helpful interactions with other business owners have been through an online book club. We’re a small group of entrepreneurs—fewer than 30 people—and each month we read a different book to help challenge our mindset and grow our businesses. At the end of the month, we have a Zoom meeting to discuss the book we just read and what we learned from it. We also have ongoing casual chats throughout the month while reading the book. It’s been the best way to find my tribe of like-minded business owners!
—Tina Tolbert, owner, Hey Mickey Travel, Nashville, Tennessee
Becoming a mentor
I am a partner of a law firm. One of the ways I connect with other attorneys is by offering free mentorships to new attorneys and those who’ve recently gone out on their own. By mentoring newer attorneys, I get to learn the latest ideas and trends in promoting one’s practice while teaching them how to run a law office—a skill they don’t teach in law school—as well as training them on how to handle cases they have not handled before. Another benefit from it for our firm is that when a new attorney runs into a case that is too big or too expensive for them to take on, they will call me and we will co-counsel the case with them.
—Paul Cannon, managing partner, Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Houston
Joining business-networking groups
As a solopreneur, it’s important for me to connect with other entrepreneurs. To do this, I’m a member of several organizations. For example, I belong to multiple local chambers of commerce and attend their events. I also reach out to their members to introduce myself—which often leads to a meet-up for coffee or at least a video call. I also belong to several professional organizations, like Les Dames d’Escoffier, which is an organization for women in the food and beverage industry. I have made great friends in this wonderful organization.
—Francesca Montillo, owner and founder, Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures, Medford, Massachusetts
Setting up a local business group
Our town set up a monthly business outing that allows all of us owners to meet up and discuss ideas, strategies, problems, and more. Each month we have it at a different venue, such as a restaurant, bar or bowling alley—basically at businesses owned by our members. It has been one of the best things the town has implemented for business owners. We get so many great ideas from these events, so we make sure to attend every month.
—Steve Moriarty, co-owner, Moriarty’s Gem Art, Crown Point, Indiana
Presenting at conferences
One of my favorite ways of networking with other business owners is presenting at conferences where people in my industry are. When I arrive, I visit all the vendor booths and invite them to attend my session. After the conference, I connect with them on LinkedIn and, even better, arrange for a coffee meet-up afterward if we are in the same geographic area.
—Colleen DelVecchio, owner, Maxady, Easthampton, Massachusetts
Participating in a mastermind
The best way I have found is to join a “mastermind”—essentially an online group of like-minded people who offer each other advice and support. At one mastermind I’m involved with, Break Free Academy, we have monthly calls and quarterly meet-ups. At the meet-ups, we can have face-to-face encounters and dig into what is helping and/or troubling our fellow entrepreneurs. These events have so much value, and we solve so many problems.
—Phil Yankauskas, president, Lakeside Renovations, Benton Harbor, Michigan
How do you connect and share ideas with other business owners? Share your insights in the comments section below!Print this article