One major commonality that I see amongst many entrepreneurs and business owners is a real independent spirit. That spirit of independence is one of the main reasons that they seek to start their own businesses in the first place. And many feel like they have something to prove and fall prey to the misconception that going it alone is a sign of strength. They are determined to achieve their business success all on their own, without any outside assistance from anyone.

But, it’s nearly impossible to have a successful business without some degree of help, as no single person can wear every hat and do every task that needs to be done in the best and most efficient way possible. The true mark of a successful entrepreneur is identifying where help is needed in your business and finding the appropriate person to assist you. I know that this can be a big challenge for you independent spirits out there, so here are three tips to make it a bit easier to get the appropriate help for your business:

Tip #1: Don’t Make Others Read Your Mind

Unless the help that you are seeking is of the psychic variety, don’t expect anyone to read your mind and offer up assistance on your behalf!  People are usually more than willing to pitch in, but if they don’t know what you need, it’s very tough for them to extend that helping hand. When you need help, reach out to everyone that you know, be it your social media contacts, professional networks, alumni associations, or even family connections and more.  Don’t fall into the trap of turning someone down or saying “I don’t know…” when some offers help to you. Make sure that you can clearly define what support you seek from someone who’s willing to help you out and don’t be afraid to ask.

2013-12-02_1023Tip #2: Keep it Simple

Keep it as simple as you can when seeking a helping hand.  Ask for assistance with one specific task- not ten.  Others are really busy with their own businesses and lives, so if you provide too many options or include too much detail in your ask, you most likely won’t get any help. Ask for one particular favor or aspect of help from each person and keep it as specific to their area of expertise as possible.

For instance, if you are looking for marketing help, ask for a reference from someone who has strong connections in that field. And be as precise as you can with what you need.  Rather than saying that you are seeking marketing assistance, explain the price range, time frame that you are looking for and that the marketing service should specialize in marketing your type of business. It won’t do you any good to get online marketing service providers if you are looking to market on local radio. You are much more likely to get what you want if you explain your needs thoroughly.

 And don’t include unnecessary road blocks! Outline what you need assistance with as clearly and concisely as possible. Do everything that you can to make someone else’s assistance as easy as it can be. Don’t include any unnecessary information, links or steps for someone else to do.  If you do have to include guidance, keep it as streamlined as you can to ease the burden on providing aid for you. Remember- they’re doing you a favor!

 Tip #3: Don’t Overstep Any Boundaries

Be reasonable! Don’t overstep any relationship boundaries, like asking to borrow money from someone that your friend just introduced you to.  And don’t take advantage of someone’s generosity. Many are more than willing to lend a hand or two, but if you ask for too much or need help too often, they may not be as willing to assist you in the future. So, only ask for assistance when you truly need it and be sure to help them in return. Show your sincere gratitude and thanks.  Others are much more willing to help out when they feel like their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated.

 Do you know any other tips regarding seeking and getting help for your business?  Please share them below.