Starting a Start-up: Entrepreneurial Challenges and Finding Your “Pack”
One of the first things that I did before embarking on the journey to create, build and open The Hydrant Club was to find a few small groups of knowledgeable folks with hands-on expertise in the canine care industry. I was lucky enough to happen upon a group of dog daycare owners who connect regularly online in a private group to share experiences and best practices, ask advice, and of course commiserate about challenges we face. While each of us has done our own research and development to establish our businesses, the camaraderie and support of this group has been a crucial factor for me.
Being an entrepreneur is a lonely business. Unless you’re someone who’s built a business with a hands-on business partner, someone who shares in the day-to-day colossal challenges of starting and building a new venture, the likelihood is that you spend a lot of time alone, a lot of time stressed and a lot of time when the monumental tasks in front of you feel so daunting that despite loving what you do, you may wonder if you can carry on.
I’m a big fan of support groups. Always have been. The idea of a group of individuals who have a shared experience and can support and guide each other is, I believe, a critical element just to being human. From bereavement to trauma to addiction there is enough proof the power of sympathy rather than empathy makes a substantial difference when it comes not just to understanding what someone is going through, but being able to share the experience and proffer support in a meaningful way. This is not to suggest that people who haven’t done something specifically cannot provide a supportive ear, shoulder or even counsel, but when it comes to the intense experience (emotional in particular) that comes with driving a new business, having folks in your corner who have walked the path on which you walk cannot be matched by any other.
This may seem a somewhat strange post for our blog, but I find myself compelled to write it today because over the last couple of months I’ve been deeply grateful for some amazing connections with other facility owners – both in Las Vegas as well as across the country. I’m reminded that one should never forget teamwork is not relegated solely to people with whom you work directly. Life, is a team sport and good sportsmanship matters.
So to those of you who may be noodling on the idea that maybe, just maybe, you want to embark on the awesome journey of joining the dog care industry besides the requisite research you must do to understand the logistical and tactical elements of the business; besides all the necessary training and education you should collect to do the work, make sure you’re seeking out other folks who are already in the mix.
Now to be clear, I’m not suggesting you go to folks already in business and expect they will give you the entire blueprint for what to do – that is your responsibility. There are few things more irritating to someone who toiled long and hard to build my business and tasked themselves with the Herculean task of learning what they needed to learn than someone who skates in looking for the easy way in. If, however, you are taking accountability and responsibility for building your business and looking for colleagues who will share best practices and offer counsel and support when things get hard, you will find that your industry peers will be the best assets you have.