Starting a business is an uphill battle that must be met with a reserve of perseverance and courage. And the secret to keeping that reserve strong is  business support network — those people who will cheer you on, offer you the right advice, and help you to scale the mountain. Here are the rules and strategies for building strong business support network:

Find your peers

Start at places where like-minded entrepreneurs congregate — and brush up on your networking skills.

Cultivate a mentor

Mentorships can be formal or informal, and typically they begin with you approaching a leader you admire for advice. You’d be surprised how generous many experienced business people can be — in many cases a mentor made a difference in their careers, so they are eager to give back.

Go virtual

Though it helps to have face-to-face interactions, your support network can be virtual as well. Find and follow people facing the same challenges on networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Comment on blogs that cover the same issues you face. Before long you’ll start to recognize familiar faces.