Have you finally taken the plunge and started up a business of your own?
Buckle up, this is going to be the most exciting time of your life!
While the excitement and thrill don't ever go away, as you settle into your new role as a business person, founder, or entrepreneur, you begin to understand how hard the process of starting and growing a business is.
Not just because creating something out of nothing is difficult -- the bigger problem is how isolating it all feels. Starting and running a business is lonely work. You're out there, trying to achieve your personal goals by yourself. You feel the burden of the full responsibility of the fate of the company on your shoulders. Yes, you have a growth plan. But if you're finding yourself lagging behind because there's nobody but yourself to set goals and execute them, you might benefit greatly from having accountability partners!
An effective accountability partner can help you strategize how to get more productive and help your work grow.
Why you need a business accountability partner
To avoid procrastination
Having an accountability partner who is watching you and monitoring your progress ensures you sit up and get the work done. When you're working independently, that's the time you start to procrastinate. Having to report to them that you fell short on this week's goals will ensure you put in the work.
To share the journey
An ideal accountability partner will be invested in your company's ups and downs with you. Running a business is not just a lonely game, as we discussed, it also tends to be a rollercoaster ride of sharp highs and lows. Did you get a new client? You're in a great mood all week -- till a bigger client cancels. Ooof! It's inevitable that negative thoughts will creep in, and sometimes you start questioning if you can indeed achieve what you set out to. Having an accountability partner to vent to gives you the support you need just when you need it.
To stay on track
An accountability partner will make sure you’re being as productive and consistent as possible. The best part is clarity on your goals. Having an accountability partner forces you to create specific goals for each day or week. And having to report progress challenges you to complete them.
To get motivated
If you’re unhappy with your company’s progress, having someone provide encouragement about similar goals will help! One of the most difficult part of entrepreneurship is to manage your motivation when nothing seems to be going right. Looking at your partner achieving their own goals can give you that much-needed boost and energy to go after your goals.
To help you get better
A partner can point out when you're going about things the wrong way and provide feedback through experience and expertise.
Benefits of an accountability partner
Being accountable to achieve your goals will result in you sticking to them and achieving them. Making consistent progress and hitting those deadlines is what will keep you in a success spiral and make you business bigger and better!
You’ll have someone pushing you ahead, even when the work is tedious and the going is well, tough.
Better your skills and quick decision-making
Having a partner to push you will make you stop delaying important decisions.
You’ll learn of new strategies and outside perspectives on ways to grow, as you communicate and brainstorm with your accountability partner.
Choosing the right accountability partner
Pick someone at the peer level
You need someone with a similar scale of experience and expertise as you, not someone who's way ahead of you, or someone way behind. This will ensure you’re more in sync with each other.
Look for honesty and objectivity
A good business accountability partner will have your best interests in mind, and at the same time be detached from the business in a way that will not stop them from being honest with you and focusing on your growth.
Focus on discipline and nudging
Pick a professional, who can inspire you to be disciplined and focused, and also challenge you to keep doing better.
Pick someone you want to impress
A mentor or someone you admire is a great person to learn from directly.
How to find an accountability partner for your business
Hire a COO
For business folks, get a chief operating officer or consultant who understands your growth vision and will work to improve the business with you. This is a great option if it aligns with what your company requires.
Talk to coworkers and business contacts
If you have colleagues or associates as driven as you, foster an accountability partnership with them. Having an accountability partner who also understands your work is a plus!
Accountability partner services
Hey there, it's Boss as a Service! Another great option is to simply sign up for an accountability partner service, and skip the search for the perfect accountability partner.
There are online advice, chat, and support groups for all kinds of goals, and you can join one to find the accountability you’re looking for. Try joining a business mastermind group. Usually, mastermind groups provide valuable insight, but the downside is that members have limited time for discussion of challenges.
Family and friends
We keep this suggestion to the end because, as the cliche goes, it’s never a good idea to mix personal relationships and accountability relationships. Hey, it's a cliche for a reason -- a family member is probably too close to you to see the problem, and you don't want to risk souring the relationship with them. But if you feel like you can rely on a loved one to keep you accountable, set up a system with them.
How to be a good a good accountability partner - and make the most of your partnership
Set your own goals
Even though this is a partnership, set your own goals that align with your vision. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time-Bound) goals always work best. Define your goal and commitment as clearly as you can, with as much detail as possible. An example is, instead of just deciding to get more clients, set a goal to get 100 new clients in six months by investing in marketing and customer relations.
Agenda and commitments
Before starting to work with your accountability partner, you need to decide the level of commitment you want from each other. Also, ask them to check on you a couple of times a week to just get a feel of how you’re progressing. Also apprise them of any milestones achieved immediately, to celebrate your wins together.
Set up regular meetings
The core of an accountability partnership is frequent communication. Create an agreement to check in with each other on a regular basis. Define how often you'll meet and when you'll talk with each other.
Be honest and accept feedback
Don’t try to downplay or hide your failures from your partner. Lay it all out and discuss how best to move forward. That's the whole point of having an accountability partner! -- their honest feedback is essential and will help you iterate and improve.
Iterate and improve the relationship
Now and again, discuss how the accountability relationship is working, and what can be done to improve it. Or, if you’d like to part ways, be honest about it and don’t delay the break.
Accountability partnerships are a potent tool to achieve amazing things together. The key is (as you might expect) to find the right accountability partner. The right person can help you eliminate negative behaviors, provide new perspectives, and drag you back into the game when you fall off track. It's well worth spending time and effort looking for the right person to help you -- your success will depend on this!