Q: Dear Pamela, I want to be an entrepreneur, but I also want to be open to collaboration. How do I do this?
A: Dear Susann, thank you for a very insightful question!
We always want to be open to collaboration in many different ways. Collaboration can mean a partnership; collaboration can mean joining someone else’s idea, and collaboration can mean an actual merger.
Often when we have entrepreneurial ideas, they might not quite have germinated. We might not have the resources, or we might not have the right team — yet. So, we don’t want to drop that passion, but we also don’t want to miss a good opportunity to be involved in another great idea.
Here are some quick ideas on how you can do both:
1. Network and improve on your entrepreneurial idea.
One of the areas as an entrepreneur you want to cultivate is being at events that are related to your product, your company, and your industry. Therefore, you can think about those times as serving both the needs of your entrepreneurial ideas and collaboration in an industry that you are passionate about.
2. It’s good to be open.
I congratulate you for being open! Often, we get wedded to our own ideas without realizing that there may be another pathway. That divergent pathway may lead us to our idea.
We might meet future team members, future board members, or connections that would help us advance our business. Further, even if we have a great idea, we’re not always ready; or, we don’t have the skills to launch it. Being open to collaborations helps you attain those skills and meet those people who can be a part of your current and future teams. Therefore, keep attending events of all types that are of interest to you, and not just related to your business.
3. Slack Channels.
Slack channels are a great, low-investment-of-time that allow you to explore. You don’t have to go in person; you don’t even have to comment. You can simply visit Slack channels and see what people are talking about. If it is something of interest, chime in and be a strong contributor. To deepen the relationships, take it offline and offer to meet with people.
4. Collaboration for the long-term.
By collaboration, you may mean merging an already existing business idea that you have with another organization. That’s very intentional and serious. In this case, we want to be open to different opportunities with organizations. But, you don’t want to be distracted by it.
A merger — and any conversation around this topic — is a big deal. Look at the values of the company with whom you want to work and meet with the founders or heads in an informal setting or at their office. Explore business mindsets; discuss values. Meet members of their team; look at their partnerships.
What you’re trying to do is to assess if these are people with whom you would like to partner. Will they advance your vision? Will you be able to do it together with similar values? If you listen inside, you’re going to have a strong instinct as to whether this is a partner that you would really want.
I look forward to seeing whom you decide to meet with and collaborate with. People and team are most important in any successful, authentic venture!
Please check back in and give an update.
I’d always love to hear,