Why Give a Damn:

Many entrepreneurs believe that asking for guidance is synonymous with weakness. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again.

The author of this post, Jane Miller, is the President and CEO of Charter Baking Company, the bakers of Rudi’s Organic and Rudi’s Gluten-Free. Jane recently launched a career advice website: janeknows.com

HELP is Not a Four Letter Word. At least not figuratively.

Do you know how many people feel like they have to be perfect at everything? That if they ask for guidance it is the equivalent of raising a white flag and surrendering to the enemy? That the word help is synonymous with weakness?

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again.

Through the early and mid-stages of my career, I felt that I should wear that big S on my chest with pride

Before I go further, I have to admit that I am a reformed Super Woman-wannabe. Through the early and mid-stages of my career, I felt that I should wear that big S on my chest with pride, visible to anyone and everyone who would take notice. I felt that my supervisors would appreciate that I was a self-starter and that I could juggle lots of balls at one time. All by myself.
Not so much.

What bosses really want (and by bosses I mean a direct manager, your board of directors, a critical customer) is a job done well and a job done on time. Whether it takes an individual or a village, it really doesn’t matter. And taking credit for the work by doing it all by your lonesome? No brownie points for that.

Why does it help to ask for help?

First, you will get a better result because you just can’t know everything! Imagine that you are a young entrepreneur who has developed a brilliant idea for the next greatest snack product. You have worked tirelessly in your kitchen until you developed a product that all of your friends love. You showed it to the buyer of your local natural food store and they want it as soon as you can make five hundred of them. You have a thousand bucks in savings that you are going to use to scale the product. Hooray for you!
Before you withdraw the $1k and set about the task of making 500 yummy snack packs, ask yourself if you are both a terrific chef and a financial whiz or just a terrific chef. There is nothing wrong with just being the terrific chef, which is why I recommend that you reach out to a friend who knows a bit about finance and get them to model the economics of your new proposition. Ask him/her to help you understand all the costs that are associated with executing your dream. It may be an idea that will make you rich and famous over time. Or you might be better off spending that money on a new bike!

You might be better off spending that money on a new bike!

But equally important to the better result is this: you will build a bond with the person that you asked to help you. Most of us really and truly like to be asked our opinion on something. It makes us feel valued and we then have a stake in someone else’s success. If you had asked me to model the finances, I would want to make sure that I did everything possible to make sure you were successful in your venture!

So, ask for help whenever you can: you will do better and you will be building a support network at the same time!

Jane Miller

Author Jane Miller

Jane Miller is CEO of ProYo Frozen Smoothie, CEO and founder of JaneKnows.com—a career advice website—and author of Sleep Your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success). She has 30 years of executive and management experience at PepsiCo, Rudi's Organic Bakery and other companies.

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