A vital part of growing any business is not necessarily what you know but vitally, who you know.
Who you know can help you take on bigger/ better projects.
Who you know can help you save money by establishing a more personal relationship with suppliers.
Like the old saying in American football goes – with your contacts – go deep.
Over the years I’ve taken on projects that I would never of had the confidence or the ability to, mainly down to the fact that I can now rely on the contacts that I have made over the years, I know their skill set, their schedule and even their rates which can all be factored in when discussing timings and budgets.
Also I have been able to pass work onto others outside of my industry – accountants, lawyers, removal firms, writers, Limo hire, PAs, VAs, FDs, MAs …
But it shouldn’t just stop there as you need to ensure that they also speak highly of you.
Turn your contacts into evangelists.
Turn your contacts into your sales people.
Where do these contacts come from? Well it aint from sitting on your backside waiting for Hootsuite to ‘PING’, you need to get a plan, get out and network.
Business networking groups have taken off in a big way over the last few years. The big boys will always be around, BNI, 4Networking and even smaller, but established, outfits like Your Business Community have their part to play.
If you’re looking for other events to attend especially when looking for JVs or partnerships, there’s always the hairy-yet-not-scarey 3-Beards events.
No matter who/ where or what you choose, the main thing is to remember that a contact is not just for a one off job but can be for life, if approached the right way.
Basic rule of thumb in life and business = don’t be a dick. Treat others how you like to be treated yourself.
One thing you will find when attending a lot of networking events is that you will find many others doing the exact same job as you.
The trick is to not treat these guys as competitors but as collaborators.
Look at what they are doing wrong and learn from their mistakes.
Look at what they are doing better then you and see how you can improve yourself.
Presuming you’re doing everything right, one day you’ll be stacked with work and will need to outsource – this is where your collaborators come in very handy.
So, the message here really is that to grow you need to look outside your circles to be able to build your network, treat everyone as a collaborator and, going forward, you need to cuddle your contacts.