Thursday, September 03, 2009

Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds Your Business

As a business coach I do a lot of networking and meeting new business owners, both online and offline. So it is always interesting to me to see how business owners approach their networking function and to see what system they have in place to leverage the opportunities that networking creates for more real business sales.

I'm fascinated to see the number who pay little or no attention to networking at all and I suspect many do not quite realise that it can be a powerful tool for their business to gain entry into circles of influence, from which, in the normal course of events, they would be forever locked-out.

I was ruminating over this and the idea the people sometimes - without realising it perhaps - can 'bite the hand that feeds them'.

As I thought about it, it came to me that for many, because they don't fully understand the dynamics and the potential that is at their feet, don't understand the loss that they sustain through their own inattention.

If you are networking... or you are not networking, then it is worth understanding fully the situation as it exists in a well-organised networking process. That process, which can encompass many different formal and informal networking situations... is yours to create.

So let's look at this a little more closely.


Networking is important because it gives you access to new businesses and new people who know about things that you don't! They know about their specialty experience in areas different from yours, and they know people you don't know. That means that they can be in possession of information about plans and intentions of people who are important to you and your business - who you don't know!

That's worth knowing.


Aside from the obvious 'get more business referrals' and it's other face 'give people you know who need help, referral to people who have the expertise to help them', are some powerful 'secondary' benefits. To me, these can sometimes be even more important.  These other benefits can include:

1)  Learn about things that are not your core business but are important to know

2)  Access expertise of peers in a variety of specialties when you need them

3)  Share and learn from the experiences of business owners in other sectors, whose  ideas would be adaptable for your business

4)  Open the opportunity to develop strategic partnerships to leverage your     opportunities to do more business, at minimal cost.

Learning To Value The Gift

When you Get Smarter, or are Invited to opportunities, or Share what you know, you are being hand fed opportunities that would not happen in any other way.  This is a high value and needs to be seen for the gift that it is.

See the gift.
Make something positive with it.

But most importantly... Recognise that hand that is feeding you such opportunities. Make your hand the one that brings opportunities to others in your network.

Have you recognised gifts like these that you've received in the past?

Post your examples comments and let's share that gift too!

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Robert Watson said...

This is a true story. I am working on a movie script with the general goal of "Hollywood 2016". (You can laugh!) Last year a Headhunter rang me to see if I was interested in an IT technical role which I declined. However I was able to provide him with some referrals, so he didn't go away empty-handed. Then he asked whether he could help me and I said "Only if you have any contacts in the movie industry." There was stunned silence, then he told me that he had been a Hollywood producer and director of 7 movies - which I verified on the Internet as we were talking.
Moral: never cross anyone off your Network Contact List - you just never know in what capacity they might provide you with a valuable lead.

lindyasimus said...

That's a great story Robert! And a good reminder why it doesn't make sense to try to 'qualify' our wider network.