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Accountability Buddy helps you to remain focused

Entrepreneurs can avoid "shiny object syndrome" by pledging to achieve their goals to another person

By Roger Pierce

Running a one-person business likely means you don't get much day to day interaction or support to help keep you focused on your goals.

We all do better in life when we are encouraged by others. Yet, because they work alone, many solopreneurs don't have anyone else in their workplace to support and encourage them. And that makes it very easy to veer off course when distractions arise.

For ambitious business owners, it's incredibly easy to get distracted by shiny new projects

An "Accountability Buddy" is someone to help keep you focused on achieving your goals or completing a specific project. An Accountability Buddy is usually another ambitious business owner who sees value in committing their goals out loud to another human being. You may find a buddy within your professional or personal network.

Here’s how an Accountability Buddy system works:

  • In your first meeting with your Buddy, agree on a regular touch-point to check in on each other’s progress. It could be a daily email, a weekly call or a monthly coffee meeting. Pick a time convenient to each Buddy that won’t change or interfere with business-building activities – for example, a dead zone on Friday afternoon might work best.

  • Use the second meeting to share goals and strategies to achieve them. Demonstrate to your Accountability Buddy that you have a plan. Your goals should be specific and time-based, such as "acquire 3 new customers within 6 months."

  • Share your weekly or daily tasks to support your goals. These are the specific activities for accountability. A sample task might be "reach out to 3 prospects this week" or "write one chapter for my book."

  • Share the following information during each Buddy check-in: what happened with your past tasks, any challenges you encountered along the way, and next tasks.

  • Agree on relationship duration. To begin, try being accountable to each other for 3 months – you can always renew the arrangement at that point.

Hold each other responsible for results

Don’t let your accountability buddy off the hook when he or she fails to perform pledged tasks. If your Buddy is routinely missing the mark, explore possible underlying causes of the problem and explore solutions together. The excuse of "not enough time" may mean your Buddy should remove some other less-important tasks from his or her weekly calendar.

I've used an Accountability Buddy to motivate me – it's like having a boss without really having one, so it's a perfect set up for any entrepreneur

While some people may prefer to hire a business coach to help them achieve certain goals, there’s something special about a peer-to-peer arrangement because you’re in it together as equals. Neither one of you wants to let the other one down.

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