What do you envision when you think of growing your business? Typically it’s new leads or prospecting. But most of us do a really crummy job of utilizing that asset called our network, or our Biz Besties, to really help us grow.
What is a Biz Bestie?
- You may have met recently or known each other forever, but the connection is unusually strong.
- You can share anything, without embarrassment, shame etc. Stories of biz mistakes, hiring errors, deep levels of debt, business deals gone wrong.
- It’s a no holds barred relationship for both of you!
There are three different types of Biz Bestie:
- Bosom Buddies: These are your best friends. You can tell them about your failures, your debts, your stupid last hire that cost you$$. No shame!
- Connectors: They know EVERYONE and take special joy in putting people together. Make them happy!
- Influencers: These folks are industry experts. They know everything in a specific area and are usually happy to share it.
How can you serve each other to build your businesses? (Hint: It’s not about leads!)
- Assist with locating vendors, suppliers, assistance of all kinds
- Sounding board for any problems that come up
- Seek out their specific expertise – knowing you will do the same in kind for them (brainstorming, etc.) Be sensitive – if this kind of advice is how they earn their money. Keep it short – a single specific question or two tops.
- Referrals! (Duh!) You have to ask?
Make connecting with your network part of your weekly schedule.
One of the techniques that I use to make that happen is “3x2x1.” Schedule a half hour block on your calendar once a week, at least. I first heard this from my real estate broker about how she built her very successful business. Just sayin’, it’s not a new concept.
Here is what it looks like in terms of weekly targets:
- 3 phone calls. (Or individual emails, but don’t forget about the phone.)
- 2 handwritten thank you notes. (Who gets mail anymore? Set up a little kit on your desk – cards, a pen, stamps.)
- 1 face to face encounter. (This could be right in your neighborhood – just integrate a conversation about what you do in your everyday life.)
When you do connect, then let your Biz Besties know what you want them to feel/know/do.
Be sure your conversation is not just a social call (although it can be that as well). Make it count. Here are some things to hit during your connection:
- How do you want them to feel as a result of connecting with you?
- What do you want them to know about you and your biz right now? This will change as your business moves forward.
- What would you like them to do? Do you have an event coming up that you’d like her to know about? Do you need a publisher for a book you are writing? Are you looking for a venue for your next live event? GET SPECIFIC!
- Always, always offer to help your contact. “What can I do for you?” will cement the relationship and keep the reciprocity going. My fabulous CPA ends every meeting or phone call by asking how she can help me grow my business, and who she can connect me with?
How many of you are thinking “I don’t have the time to nurture my Biz Besties.”
Why not? Make the time. That’s part of your role as the CEO of your business. Your weekly calendar should have slots built in for client time, content creation, team call/building and a CEO time slot. Find a block every week for a Biz Besties half hour. Build your week according to your needs, not the other way around.
What is your mindset when you go to a conference or a networking event?
Do you hate them? I used to until I changed my goals. I now am looking for Biz Bestie material, not leads. Think about building your community, not your prospect pool. It really takes the pressure off.
- Find one, maybe 2 women that you sense may be a possible Biz Bestie. It’s as easy as finding one or two women that appeal to you. You may like how they look, their hair, jewelry, their smile, or something they said during a session. – Something resonates with you.
- Make a point of sitting next to them during the next breakout or workshop for more conversation. A little stalking is OK.
- Be a servant, not a taker. Try to find a way to offer help by sharing a contact or offering a solution to a problem that has worked for you.
- It’s not about leads. That MAY come later. It’s about building your network of Biz Besties.
Keep connecting and building your network.
Make a point of going to networking events once a month. Revisit ones you have enjoyed in the past, or seek out new ones. Or, commit to one organization and attend the majority of their events to establish a presence.
Can I help you on your path to growing your business? Let’s schedule a call to chat about where you are right now and how I can help you.