They say it takes a village to raise a child. To nurture a business with the right foundation and value system is no different. One person can kickstart a business, but without the right network, growth is a myth. Every successful business is backed by a support network, and the same applies to entrepreneurs. To make the best out of one’s resources and grow the business, connection, communication, and inspiration are vital.
The defining trait of an entrepreneur is the ability to take action. But some requirements beget action – self-belief, the courage to make the first move, and persistence to stay the course.
Several entrepreneurs start with a great deal of passion but underestimate how crucial strategy and consistency can be. At the very outset, clarity of the mission statement and creating a desirable product offer or service is elemental. But that’s just for starters.
One of the most relevant elements of a strategy is to build a strong network. After all, how will people discover your business and develop an affinity if not for a network? People buy from people, those they know and like. Creating value, building trust, and engagement are key.
We explore some basic tips herein that are common sense but often get lost in the din of entrepreneurial wisdom. Let’s dive in!
The “Know-Like-Trust” Factor
This is the quick 1-2-3 of offering a product or service, and it is unshakeable. No matter your quality, if your product is unknown, the unfamiliarity raises distrust, and that is pretty much a death knell. Fortunately, the converse is simple to achieve in this era.
Being visible has never been easier. Entrepreneurs need to zero in on a platform that resonates with them and where their message is best heard. Facebook, Instagram, Club House are all platforms that offer innumerable ways to build a network and engage with one’s target market. Some of these ways include taking part in live conversations with other experts or offering Q&A sessions which bolsters the “know-like-trust” factor.
Finding ways to connect, collaborate, communicate and add value to other experts ensures that your collaboration helps both parties find prospective clients. For instance, LinkedIn offers hosting webinars, uploading podcasts, and even pre-recording videos with subtitles. Its reach is well documented among professionals, recruiters, and laymen alike. Being entrepreneurial is all about talking to the audience. This is key!
Birds of A Feather
Finding your flock is so important in terms of both customers and those on the same growth journey as you. A systematic approach to finding these people needs time and diligence. It may seem painstakingly slow, but business is nothing but unwavering patience. An initial connection online or in a formal setting such as a seminar or workshop may not convert into a collaboration or reliable contact in every case. However, it’s still important to put out enough feelers. Staying persistent even when you’re not seeing results is what makes a businessman.
Once the connection is established, it’s time to get to know them personally and professionally. Continuous follow-up will ensure the relationship will grow in a mutually beneficial manner. Many entrepreneurs fail here and lose leads that could have become clients or even mentors in the long run.
The 3 C’S of Adding Value
The 3 C’s of Adding Value are Connecting, Collaborating, and Communicating relevant content that adds direct value to one’s network. The world evolves fast and unpredictably, so keeping your content consistently relevant is tricky. It makes sense to test different content and ‘rinse-and-repeat’ the content pieces that show the best performance.
Being entrepreneurial needs one to ‘Think BIG’. No one wants to hear from an expert who does not share their valuable expertise. It is important to get out there, position oneself as the go-to solution person. This can be achieved by having a blog, a podcast, or both! It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to establish all these, but once the framework is in place, a cadence for producing content is set.
However, ‘trial and error’ or making copious amounts of content does not excuse a compromise on quality to prevent being perceived as a spammer. That may backfire and put one’s credibility as a professional and expert at risk. Focus on showing up as an expert who helps resolve problems. Provide easy access to connecting and finding the solutions they are looking for.
Are You Part Of The Solution?
People remember solutions rather than problems. You can infer from the rise of motivational speakers, or authors of self-help and wellness literature, that you need to have a knack for sensing a problem even when it is not widely discussed and position yourself as the person that offers solutions.
Be a specific expert for a niche requirement. Being the jack of all trades may work initially, but it is not a sustainable strategy. When people see your niche expertise, you will gain their trust, leading them to want your guidance! Many entrepreneurs dwell on why their service is the best, talking about themselves far too much. No one cares about that. People care about what one can do to help them and create the solutions they need. It is important to focus on the expected outcome rather than wax eloquent about your expertise or abilities.
The Best Things Are Free
‘The baker’s dozen is a sales move that established instantaneous bonds in the previous generation and is the most unfailing business strategy in the book. Being generous and sharing free content pays off, for instance, offering a free e-book or giving away a useful brochure based on one’s expertise. Free or bonus content gives potential clients a taste of one’s offering, which can evoke interest in getting more of it. What’s more, it establishes the creator’s supremacy since there’s definitely more where that came from, or you wouldn’t be giving anything for free!
Word of Mouth
A ten-word testimonial creates more impact than a hundred-word flowery description you wrote about your own service. It helps to come across as trustworthy, reliable and a popular choice vetted by other people, a must when you are just building credibility. Sharing client experiences, publishing testimonials, and talking about benefits and real stories are key to build one’s network, being heard, and being relevant.
This is a recipe that will definitely step up your networking game. Read it, analyze it, make it your own, remember reading is just step one – the defining trait of an entrepreneur is the ability to take action.
Jasmine Navarro can be reached at [email protected]