THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION TO A MODERN ENTREPRENEUR

Originally published on NeilNewstead.net

Entrepreneurs are known for working by themselves, but teaming up with someone else has the power to increase drive, creativity, and resources. Ideas are shared. Reviews are solicited, and entrepreneurs can utilize feedback to more adequately assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Human and societal nature idolize the idea that no one will contribute to your success but yourself, planting a seed of fear at a very young age. This seed then grows into a self-consuming concept as we mature: I will do it myself. While a noble sentiment, it is highly unrealistic in the realm of business. It creates individuals that are hesitant to share ideas out of sheer fear that someone will steal them and achieve success without crediting the original conceptor. In reality, the benefits of collaboration far outweigh the risks.

A diversified level of upper management increases the ability to identify and prevent short-sighted decisions, and fills in skill gaps frequently found in solo leaders. A report released by McKenzie and citing statistics collected between 2008 and 2010 showed that the companies performing exceptionally well financially were the same companies that boasted a more diverse “top team.”

Entrepreneurs that work in teams are more likely to recognize which of the job aspects they excel in, and which could use some improvement. Feedback is available from peers with a similar title and with a similar end goal resulting in an improved awareness of the way a particular person is being perceived. Good entrepreneurs accept this feedback and use it to construct a newer, better leader as they grow with the company.

The benefits of collaboration as an entrepreneur are so widely studied, that nearly all formally-taught entrepreneur programs include team-based projects as a critical part of their curriculum. Students must learn to work well both for others and with others. These projects teach future entrepreneurs to accurately identify professional deficiencies in other teammates, successfully communicate constructive criticism, and adequately adjust personal workloads to meet deadlines and quality standards.

Outside of the realm of education, numerous famous entrepreneurs also recognize the value of collaboration. In fact, several household names have achieved their status with the help of other entrepreneurs.. Steve Jobs, for example, worked with Steve Wozniak. Bill Gates worked with Paul Allen. Even Ben Kauffman, the founder of Quirky and developer of MOPHIE, started out in community-based product development during his senior year of high school!

Experts posit that entrepreneurial collaboration is just as important as entrepreneurial ideas in the grand scheme of things. After all, what good is an idea if it cannot be realized without the skills, resources, and determination of others that believe in it.

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