8 Essential Individuals All Entrepreneurs Must Have in Their Inner Circle
Your inner circle can push you up or bring you down in all areas of growth.
Entrepreneurship will kill you physically, mentally and emotionally if you go about it alone. You need the right people around you to become successful — no matter how great your foundation is.
Surrounding myself with people I can trust has made the most significant difference in the success of my business. They challenge me to be better and push me to take actions that I would typically consider far beyond my reach.
Being alone with your business gets old quickly (trust me). I've had my fair share of bad experiences where I tried to do things myself — only to get overwhelmed and give up. That's why it is so crucial to build relationships with people who support you in the right ways.
I’ve compiled a list of the eight people that every entrepreneur needs on their team:
1. A therapist
As mental illness is more common in entrepreneurs than non-entrepreneurs, it's important to consider talking with a therapist.
A therapist allows you to truly understand who you are and what you want out of life. They also can help you understand your emotions and form a deeper connection with yourself to relate to others better.
Therapy has helped me give myself more grace. My therapist showed me that I was super hard on myself and that a lot of my issues stem from trauma in my past. Knowing this allowed me to heal a lot of wounds and stop negative thought patterns and communication habits. Now when I speak to my employees and other people, I can extend that same level of grace to them.
Another huge benefit of therapy is being able to offload mountains of stress and confidential business information you can’t share with anyone else.
2. A trusted confidant
A successful entrepreneur has one important thing in common with others who successfully grow their businesses into multi-million dollar entities: They all have a trusted confidant.
That trusted confidant is not always their spouse or significant other. It can be a business mentor, an attorney, an accountant or just a friend who’s not even in your field. As long as they have your best interest at heart, they can offer you valuable advice that may differ from what you have been told by others in the past.
I myself have two trusted confidants. They have saved my life multiple times just by simply reminding me who I am and why I'm doing what I'm doing. They aren’t there to give me the answers, but rather to challenge me to find the right solutions.
Even at my lowest moments, they have been there for me. They have reassured me, motivated me and have been my biggest cheerleaders. They have helped me look at things from a different perspective, shared their experiences with me and taught me invaluable lessons that I am still learning. And just as importantly, they have made great sacrifices to support my crazy journey.
3. A high-performance coach
You can only go so far by pushing yourself. That's why having a high-performance coach is essential.
Let me put it this way: Health is like an engine and entrepreneurship is like a car. You need the appropriate fuel, the right amount of air in your tires and oil changes to keep up with your car's performance. Without those things, you're going to struggle and eventually burn out.
Taking accountability for your health and increasing your fitness levels are key components for entrepreneurial success. A high-performance coach will help you tackle your health so you can perform at a higher level. They understand that you need to produce not only in the gym, but in all areas of your life.
The price varies based on the services offered, but one thing is for sure: A high-performance coach will be worth every penny because you'll become a more productive person and live a better life.
4. A non-business-related friend
Most entrepreneurs created their businesses because they are passionate about it and love what they do. It’s easy to get consumed with work because there is always something else to get done. When owning a business, the power to move the company forward usually falls on your shoulders. However, a 24/7 hustle can do serious harm to your health and well-being.
It’s important to have friends outside of work who support your hustle, but it’s also nice to call up an old friend for a chat or go out with them. These non-work relationships are crucial for entrepreneurs.
Taking time away from work to spend time with a friend and enjoy a hobby or activity is crucial. This is probably one of the hardest things for me because I love to work.
However, one of the best things that I found is that by turning off my business mind and turning on my “arts mind” or even my “party mind.” Taking space away from my business allows me to come back with a clear head and new ideas.
It’s easy to slip into a routine and forget that there is more to life than work. So find friends outside of your business who will allow you to take a step back, relax and enjoy yourself.
5. A spiritual advisor
While serving in the military, I learned early on that most people believe in something. You don't have to be a highly spiritual person to believe in God, but most of us believe in a higher power.
While reading about the principles of business, I stumbled upon an article that discussed "spiritual advisors." These are people who are not only spiritual but are also knowledgeable in their craft. They could be life coaches or mentors who can help give guidance to you on your business ventures.
Everyone has a different belief system, so it is important to find someone who believes what you believe. When you need spiritual advice, you can go to your priest, rabbi or other religious leaders. By the same token, when in need of business advice, you should also be able to seek out your spiritual advisor so you can move forward in a way that aligns with your values.
For instance, some people have a harder time achieving success because their belief system causes them to be self-destructive. These beliefs would include thoughts such as: "I'm not good enough," or "I can't do it." This is why it's important to have spiritual advisors who are not only knowledgeable in business but are knowledgeable spiritually as well.
These people can help you change your thoughts so that you can manifest the reality you desire for yourself.
6. A coach
The truth is, the kind of coach that you need is going to depend on the season that you're in within your business.
If you're in the beginning stages of your business, what you need is a business strategy coach. If you're a little further along, you may be looking for a marketing strategy coach. If you're really hitting it big, congratulations! You probably need a financial strategy coach.
The key to making sure that your business succeeds for years to come is setting up a good financial plan. As your business gets more complex, the decisions you make need to be backed up by solid ideas and strategies that will help ensure that your business makes it successfully through the long haul.
Of course, these are just rough categories. If you're somewhere between stage one and two, then you may just need a little bit of everything. Or you simply might need to refine what you already have in place instead of starting from scratch.
There are also many other areas of specialty a coach can help you with including networking, building healthier relationships with your employees and diversity and inclusion.
As an entrepreneur, you need to identify the weak spots in your business and find a coach that can help you overcome that adversity. Then, to continue promoting growth within your business, be sure to evaluate the kind of coach needed for where your business currently stands and focus on building a long-term relationship with them.
7. PR coach
No matter how good your product or service is, you need the media to take notice. Having someone who is good at garnering press coverage wins you more fans, which in turn equals money. PR experts help keep your name out there so that when people are looking for what you have to offer, they'll think of you right away.
It can be hard for small businesses to compete with larger competitors when it comes to getting their names in the press, but with a little ingenuity and creativity, it can be done. PR can be a great way to get your name out there, but it requires careful planning and plenty of hard work — which is why hiring a PR coach who can share their knowledge with you is incredibly helpful.
8. Diversity and inclusion coach
Employees from diverse backgrounds bring a wealth of new perspectives to the workplace, which can help drive innovation. This is why more and more businesses from all industries are hiring diversity and inclusion managers or coaches.
A diversity and inclusion coach is a person whose job is to advise an individual or organization on matters related to diversity and inclusion. They can either be an external resource who will work with the management team to help develop inclusive practices and procedures, or an internal resource within a company. The latter is more common as it means that senior managers will have someone they can turn to for advice on how best to develop their D&I policies.
The role of a D&I coach is incredibly varied and complex, as it requires a thorough understanding of not just legislation, but also social issues. This makes it very difficult for a single individual to have the skills and knowledge needed to address all possible situations.
When hiring a D&I coach, consider their experience in working with people from different backgrounds and how they can use this experience in their current role. The coach should also be able to teach the business about diversity and inclusion.
When entrepreneurs manage to hire an excellent D&I coach, it can lead to great results. The business will not only benefit from having someone who understands their needs but will also be able to increase the number of talented people recruited and retained, as well as boost brand perception.
An entrepreneur needs to build an internal team because it will make the difference between winning for the long term versus always being in rebuild mode. From this time on, never be alone in your business again.
Related: Why Everyone Needs a Life Coach
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor