A Crash Course in Creating Your Own Entrepreneurial Business Boot Camp

entrepreneurial boot camp

Let me guess. You have a business idea and you’ve gone back and forth for weeks, months or maybe even years wondering if it could really work. You’ve done a little bit of research, talked to a few ambitious friends and … you’ve hit a brick wall. You’re not sure what to do next. Life continues on, but you’re still stuck wondering.

Or, pat yourself on the back, you’ve got it figured out (kind of). Your startup has been successful, but you’d like to move out of survival mode and increase its scalability. But how?

There are so many answers, but only you know the ones that will work for your business. In order to challenge yourself and create opportunities specific to your startup, consider creating your own entrepreneurial boot camp. Here’s how:

Connect with Like-minded Cohorts

Dedicate a whole day to finding and connecting with other entrepreneurs. Yes, a whole day. Start online with social media and networking platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Do keyword searches and get specific. However you define yourself and your entrepreneurial status — a Millennial, a misfit, an aspiring mompreneur or an established black business woman — there’s an online group for you. Need a place to start? Join 14,000 others in one of LinkedIn’s “Best Groups”: Impact Entrepreneur.

Meet Connections In Person

Following people on Facebook or commenting on a post within a LinkedIn group is a great place to start, but it alone won’t get you where you need to be. Do in-person networking groups make you sweat? Great, it’s time to sign up for one. Search a site like EventBrite for conferences, classes or meetups in your area. Set a goal specific to your startup needs, such as to attend one in-person event a month, and then stick to it. Before attending, come up with a list of questions you have or issues you’re facing. That way when you’re at the conference, you can steer the conversation toward something that can be applied in real life. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who has experience with what you’re going through.

Get Out of Your Groove

The problem with always rubbing shoulders with entrepreneurs in your industry is that you never get an outside perspective. Here’s your chance to challenge yourself. Look for networking and contractual opportunities outside of your comfort zone. For example, make an account on online marketplace Fiverr or become an Uber driver to find out what the ever-popular worldwide transportation company is all about. Or you could improve your selling skills, connect with others and grow your network by taking on contractual opportunities with Amway. Try to see whatever you choose to do as a learning opportunity. You may be surprised at the new perspective, you walk away with.

Find a Mentor or Become One

Remember this is a journey not a race. Don’t expect to meet your mentor, new business partner or best angel investor at the first event you attend. But be on the lookout. Hopefully after a few months of consistently connecting online, networking in person and thrusting yourself into groups in and out of your industry, you’ll find a circle of connections that you can learn from and contribute to. In that group, look for a seasoned entrepreneur who could act as your mentor and then use him or her as a sounding board for your startup success. According to Entrepreneur.com, the best mentors don’t tell you what to do but instead ask hard questions, challenge you to be better and act as an advisor. In your circle, don’t be selfish. It’s easy to get caught up in what others can do for you, but be on the lookout for help you can offer others. It’s what makes forcing yourself through an entrepreneurial boot camp worth it.