You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie
The power of a network can be reduced to it’s simplest form in ‘I know someone who knows someone who knows someone.'” – Michele Jennae
Have you ever thought about animals like deer, bear, wolf, and moose in regards to their need for food and shelter? They will journey out of their normal area in order to find more food or shelter. They expand their territory.
What about you as a business owner or manager, do you look for additional customers or clients when you need more income? Do you look for them before you need more income?
When is the right time to expand your territory or influence? NOW!
In regards to some animals, like the wolf, you will see that they work together to secure their food source. They each take initiative in achieving their goal. You need a team of people in your business and outside of your business to help you in achieving your goals and objectives. Just like the wolf, whom do you have to assist you with reaching your goals and objectives?
Here are some ideas for expanding your territory and influence:
- Create or join a group of businesses that can refer business to you
- Create or join groups on social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
- Create your own strategic partner network
- Regularly attend and participate in groups – be present and give not just receive
- Join associations that your prospects are members of
- Develop a list of people that Know, Like, and Trust (KLT) you (show them what you do)
- Create a team of trusted advisors
- Create an Advisory Board (people that are not in your business)
- Create or join a co-working environment
- Create or join a Mastermind group
You have a team of like-minded people all working in the same direction to help you to achieve your goals and objectives. We could call them your Dream Team. You can confide in them and strategize with them to reach each person’s goals. Team work makes the dream work.
Your team members may change over time. This is a natural progression and will allow you not to get stuck if the current team is not able to work together effectively. The team can provide insight that you would not have on your own. They are someone you can pass ideas by when you are at a loss for what you need to do. They may be at your side during a crucial leg of your journey. They can provide additional strategies and tactics that can transform your business from status quo to soaring above the crowd.
Many businesses turn to friends, family members, and others for advice on how to run their business. This is very common. Would you ask advice of a friend if you had a medical condition or would you seek the advice of a doctor specialized in your condition?
Do you regularly seek the advice of someone skilled in dealing with business challenges? You need to seek an advisor who has also run a business for a number of years. You are a business owner or manager and you need to seek advice and insight from someone (a business coach) who can relate to your challenges.
Who do you already have an influence with? Is there a particular reason you have this influence? Who else could you have influence on? You need to expand your areas of influence. Are you being influenced by someone who really may not share the same passion that you have for your business? They may think that they are helping you, but they may be hindering you in the growth of your business. Many family owned businesses struggle with the vision of each family member not having the same vision for the business. Some want to sell it, receive their portion of the profit, and walk away.
Some ideas of the types of people you don’t want on your team are:
- They don’t believe in you
- They are negative
- They are not supportive of the vision, mission, and values
- Their behavior towards others is offensive
- They only want a paycheck
- They say they never make a mistake
- They know it all
- They drag others down
You need to have supportive and positive people in your business, as you don’t have time to deal with those who aren’t. You need to be surrounded by people who support the mission, vision, and values of the business. Do the people you have in your business provide water to help your business grow or do they constantly put water on your plans and put out the fire? Are you developing people that support your business and giving them opportunities to grow their own personal and business effectiveness?
You have a good relationship with advisors for your business, like a lawyer, accountant, business banker, and bookkeeper. These professionals are normally focused on keeping your business compliant with legal documents, taxes, loans, and financial information. As important as they are or your business, they often lack the training or have not owned their own business. Therefore they may not be the best people to give you advice on other areas of your business. This is why more and more businesses are seeking a business advisor or coach. A business advisor or coach is trained in assisting a business owner or manager in achieving their specific goals by providing step by step actions that are directly related to your goals and objectives.
I took a position with a manufacturing business as their Information Technology manager as the previous person was retiring. I asked how they found out what the needs of the business areas were. I found that they waited for someone to complain about an issue they were having. The employees would just try to fix issues on their own, as the IT department did not respond quickly enough. I decided I would regularly walk through the manufacturing areas and the office areas to determine their needs. They started to ask for help when there was a need. I responded quickly and addressed their issues. This made them trust the IT department and feel that they were not an inconvenience. I expanded the territory of the IT department. Why not have all your departments expanding their territory and helping each other to have a better work environment?
By expanding your territory and influence within your business you can help others to get what they want.
If you help people get what they want, you will get what you want.
In conclusion, it is crucial that you never stop expanding your territory and influence. Most business owners and managers stop these initiatives when they have enough customers or clients. What happens when you lose customers or clients? How are you going to replace them or add additional customers or clients at a moments notice? Do you have all your eggs in one basket or type of customer or client?
By expanding your territory and influence, you expand your connections, introductions, resources, and strategic alliances, which leads to more opportunities for your business. This will also allow you to gain knowledge and experience from others who have traveled the same roads before you.