Too many entrepreneurs try to do it alone.
But it's easy to work together with a group of entrepreneurs that helps everyone succeed. That is what YEO and other organizations like it are all about. There are many examples of this in history.
In 1727 Benjamin Franklin and 12 friends formed a group which he called Junto, where they discussed the topics of the day for their mutual improvement. For decades these individuals helped each other succeed and make contributions to society.
I have often felt that librarians are among the most underrated and underappreciated professionals in the U.S. The reference librarians that I have known over the years are among the most intelligent people I've met. They don't know everything, but they usually know where to find anything--and fast!
In New York and San Francisco, a lot of business networking happens after business hours at bars and other venues. There are places to go almost nightly, where co-workers hangout together and people meet new people. Back in 1999 one of my MyFamily.com co-workers in particular was the king of San Francisco after hours business networking--he knew everyone at other SF dot coms. Such networking leads to cross-pollination of ideas and deal-making and has a very positive impact on business.
I was very fortunate to be involved from the beginning of Ancestry.com: an internet startup that achieved positive cash flow (by July 1998) before raising outside capital. This required some self-funding, bootstrapping, and using all the online marketing tactics that we could discover. It also helped that we sold annual subscriptions to our online databases. We would collect the money up front, but recognize the revenue over a full twelve months. So we achieved positive cash flow well before we reached profitability.
I'm pretty happy with the way my February column turned out for Connect Magazine. I think it's the best column I've written so far. It's about reducing your chances of failure by investing in your company's greatest asset--the minds of your employees. Please let me know what you think of it.