A successful entrepreneur knows how important it is to continually nurture and create connections, that includes prospective customers who will buy your product or service and other connections: peers to talk things over with; professional advisors like your accountant or web designer; mentors who have succeeded in your industry.
As entrepreneurs with disability we face special obstacles. But we are also uniquely connected with others. We are part of a social movement around the world who share common goals and aspirations to create economic success for ourselves and our families while being ground breakers and role models for others.
If you are reading this, you have discovered the power of the internet. Be assured that this resource is worth your time. Experiment with new connections that can provide you with critical tools for success.
Members of the founding team of the Global Network for Entrepreneurs with Disability initially connected through Linked In (www.linkedin.com) which is an online networking tool having 35 million members worldwide. Even though it has a huge base of members, it’s not overwhelming. It’s easy to find other people who share your profession or business as well as your area of disability. Simply type in a category in the word “groups” and chances are you’ll find something of interest.
I have used Linked In to find answers to technical questions using their “Ask the Expert” feature. When the Americans with Disabilities Act was expanded in late 2008, I was confronted with questions from clients about how it would affect them. I was able to post questions on several legal sites which provided comprehensive and thoughtful answers that helped immensely. And it’s free!
As entrepreneurs we are constantly faced with new situations and challenges. Broaden your thinking about community to effectively broaden your base of resources:
- Investigate LinkedIn and post a profile there. When something comes up in your business, think about how to frame it to this online community. Experiment and expect to be surprised and delighted at the new connections you will make.
- Investigate local resources in your city or country supporting people with disabilities. Let them know what you’re doing. Volunteer to give a talk about your experiences as a businessperson. The community of people with disabilities is vast and growing and represents an important customer base for businesses both large and small. Get the word out about your business in every area you can think of.
- Many professions have groups that have been established especially for their members with disability, often started by an industrious and proactive group of members who have direct experience. With the power of global communication you can investigate locally, regionally and globally to find people who share your business interests as well as your challenges.
A growing business needs people to address the many requirements of success. Open your mind to the possibilities supporting you, and allow you the tools and resources needed to support others.
Community and connection are critical to business success, and well worth your time.