Small Business, Big Support: How Having a Strong Network Can Help Your Business ThriveApr 18, 2023
Many of us have dreams and aspirations for our business. But we are also feeling very alone in the process. Maybe you would like to find a better network, but who has time? Or feeling overrun by groups. Or don’t have the ability to pay for these groups and are still stuck feeling alone because of it.
On the podcast today, my guest and I talk about the solution of support and how having a strong network of support helps us as people not feel so alone, but also helps your business thrive. And if your business is thriving, you are thriving!
Today’s topic was suggested by a 100k Club Mastermind member Rachel Lawrence. She has some awesome titles: Mom, wife, doer, helper, ironman, Pediatric OT, and business owner!
So today we are taking a deep dive on saying YES and leaning into support.
A Little Background On My Guest:
- Who she is and how she gets paid: Rachel Lawrence owns Parallel Play, a therapeutic gym in Aurora, Colorado. Rachel was a gymnast most of her life and found gymnastics to be its own niche and need. A new way of working in Pediatrics. Her team uses adaptive and therapeutic play for a wide range of pediatric conditions including sensory processing disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD and more. She chose gymnastics as a therapeutic sensory-based practice because she finds it to be a gateway sport, with a number of benefits for kiddos with a variety of conditions.
- Income and impact: Rachel grossed 167k last year, and her goal is to break 200k this year. Her business exists in a marketplace that has 50 other small businesses. In terms of payment and reimbursement, Rachel estimates 55% of payment comes from community waivers and Medicaid, and the other 45% is private pay.
Rachel’s focus is on community. Her team has made adaptations to their facility with a goal for equal accessibility and feeling of community for all of her kiddos. She wants her kids with disabilities to be part of the community. To be seen and known. Everything they deserve!
- Weekly workload: Rachel currently works 5 days per week. She estimates teaching 25 sessions per week plus all the behind the scenes business related work. She has a family and 2 young kids at home. Her and her husband share childcare while also both working full time. With the crazy schedule, Sunday is Rachel’s hard stop, no work day. Her goal is less work and more sacred, SELF time.
Next we dove into Rachel’s story of going from feeling like she could go at this alone (like so many of us do!) to realizing how important a support network is in business.
Myth of Solo-preneur To Support Network:
Rachel has spina bifida occulta, and while pregnant with her first son, quickly realized she needed support to keep herself and her baby healthy. She found a dream team of therapists, coworkers and friends to keep her on track throughout her pregnancy and she attributes so much to this community and support.
Through her therapist and doula, Rachel met a Physical Therapist who connected a group of similar women in the entrepreneur space- Occupational, Physical and Speech therapists. Their first meet and greet allowed them to share their goals and challenges. Since the first meeting, it has flourished into regular meetings and friendships. They even named themselves the “Pediatric Masterminds” and meet monthly!
They discuss both business and clinical knowledge in addition to personal life. All being in ther therapy business space, bounce ideas off each other. What has been a crucial part of their support system are their “action items''. The group checks in on each other at their next meetup or between meetups to keep each other accountable.
In our conversation together, Rachel and I established 5 benefits to having a support system in business. We dive into each benefit and I asked Rachel to provide examples of each in her world.
5 Benefits of Having a Support System:
1. Emotional Support
Having emotional support in business is so important, because business is stressful! It’s important to have people who just get it.
Example: Emotional support from her group provides a space to be vulnerable as a business owner. It’s the ability to have comradery. The understanding that entrepreneurship and business is HARD, and having a group or person that understands what you are going through is crucial.
2. Access to Expertise
Access to expertise provides insight into aspects or other niches that you aren’t as well versed in. In turn, this access helps in decision making and avoiding mistakes.
Example: Starting a business requires a certain level of confidence, and confidence stems from building your skills. My group has areas of expertise, and a variety of work history. They can utilize each other and their past skillset to apply to their current business and clients. Having access to expertise also gives the ability to expand their network
3. Increased Visibility
Leveraging the audience of others. Referrals, exposures to new customers/markets, collaboration.
Example: She has a brick and mortar business, but many of the others in her mastermind group are home-based. Others in her group have a very strong social media presence, including them in their social media. Group pictures when they meet up. A lot of benefits from social media.
4. Resource Sharing
Helped by offering resources - equipment, tools you don’t have access to on your own.
Example: Rachel passed on home health equipment (pizzles, rattles, shakers), electronic medical records systems- a few of them use it and have been able to see various options of EMRs to see if one is working better than others, etc. doesn't always have to be as obvious as the physical resources or as a clinician, but as a business owner. As a business owner, you want to save on time and money. So if sharing resources allows you to save on one or both of these, that is huge!
Keeping yourself and each other accountable to goals within business.
Example: Rachel’s “Pediatric Mastermind” group has kept her accountable to her pricing. At their last meeting she had the goal of raising prices. Her group is keeping her accountable by checking with her regularly. She admits to finding excuses to not increase.
A very positive aspect to accountability that Rachel and her group hold each other to is giving each other gold stars. They have talked about how many times the wins are not celebrated, you simply move onto the next item of business. These gold star moments help keep each other accountable to celebrating each other and their accomplishments.
In Podcast Episode 86, my friend Kelly Beins and I actually talk about celebrating small wins, or what we termed “champagne wins”! You should always celebrate wins, but to talk more about WHY that is so important as an entrepreneur.
As I mentioned before, Rachel is part of my 100K Mastermind group. So I asked her, between her paid mastermind and free mastermind (her Pediatric Mastermind group), what she thinks the difference is?
Her response: Her “free mastermind” is more in the moment, they’re all in the thick of it business wise. They also discuss general goals and have their monthly check-ins. The paid group provides more structure, a viewpoint from higher up. Provides guidance in where she should go next in business.
Rachel describes herself as a synthesizer. She likes to hear others' opinions or way of working to decide what will work best for her. Rachel notes she used to have a lot of shame around this, and asks herself why she couldn’t just figure it out herself? But what she realized is SO important is that life, and in turn business, is not meant to be done alone.
So say YES to all the things! Yes to leaning into support and finding your network. Doing so will help your business thrive!
To get the full deep dive on our conversation, listen to the full episode of the podcast here.