To be a successful entrepreneur, creating and maintaining a business requires more than just startup capital. Business deals, partnerships and wealth transfer come through the strategic influence and support of a network of individuals, in other words, someone’s own social capital.
“It’s so important for entrepreneurs to have a great network of this social capital because it’s not just advisors who will help you and support you, but it could be your investors,” James Jack, Head of Business Owners Client segment at UBS, told The Plug.
“Hopefully they’re bringing more to the table than just money. Hopefully, they bring their knowledge, their resources, their connections, help foster new business opportunities for you as a business owner or help on navigating things,” he added.
Research shows social capital is beneficial in everything, from public health to business performance, but building a strong network is key. One way to do that is by connecting with your peers, whether it be through entrepreneur organizations or local chambers of commerce. But it’s also important to have a team of trusted advisors that you can leverage.
“A big part of the value proposition that UBS advisors bring to our clients is not just the ability to buy or sell stocks and bonds,” Jack said.
“It’s the intellectual capital, it’s the knowledge, it’s the connection and the networking that comes with that, whether that is from the resources of UBS or the resources that the financial advisor knows locally outside of UBS,” he said.
These resources are especially key for helping Black business owners succeed. Studies suggest Black-owned businesses are less likely than white-owned businesses to still be running four years after starting, making access to advice, connections and opportunities necessary.
Beyond financial advisors and investors, look at other members of the team like attorneys, CPA’s and personal advisory boards.
It’s also a good practice not to silo requests for help.
“You always have the legal question for the lawyer or the accounting question for the accountant, but you’d be surprised that advisors are really helpful across the broader array of decisions,” Mel Hightower, Head of Multicultural Client Segments at UBS, told The Plug.
“These are business choices for any issue that you’re grappling with; they can be incredibly helpful,” she said.
Once strong connections have been established, it is important to maintain these relationships but, like any muscle, it takes work. To sustain networks, make sure to also give help and recommendations, not just ask for them.
“It’s important to be a connector yourself, relationships have to be sustained both ways,” Hightower said.
She explained that introducing people who could be helpful to one’s broader network can then become an organic sharing of connections and resources.
Having a two-way relationship can also help when needing help. Instead of sending an out-of-the-blue note that may not be well received, approach someone that you have provided value to and have had regular, thoughtful interactions with.
Overall, social capital is a key ingredient in the mix of what makes a successful entrepreneur — financial wealth, social capital and one’s own intellectual capital to bring to the table.
“Those three things all work in concert,” Hightower said. “They’re all collectively useful as an entrepreneur.”
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This story is made possible by UBS Global Wealth Management. To connect with Jonathan, please find him on LinkedIn or visit his website advisors.ubs.com/affinitywealthpartners.
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