Am I building a business…or a network?
Sometimes I think that I’ve spent the last 5 and a half years of my life building a business, then after reflecting come to the conclusion that I haven’t actually been building a business…I’ve been building relationships.
Whilst on paper I’m building a business, the reality is the biggest success I have had is to build such a massive range of relationships. People might say my success so far is in going from 1 member of staff to having 12, others might say it’s to have launched several businesses (to varying success!), some might say it’s getting our name on the supplier list of massive national companies… a few might say it’s because nobody knows it but thousands of pieces of POS are seen every day having been processed by software we built from ground up. Bragging over now, those successes have all come on the back of having awesome relationships… building the business is a by-product of those relationships.
Business today is about people… people buy from people… people work for people… people engage with people.
Winning Referrals, Leads & Sales
Last week I had 2 referrals from someone I have built a relationship with – it’s a professional relationship, I’ve engaged with him over the months/years purely because I like the bloke. He’s a nice guy, he works hard in his organisation and they do amazing things for business in Burnley, where I am based. I have never asked and I have certainly never expected referrals from him. Why did he choose to refer those people to us? Because we have a good relationship and value what each other does… and probably most importantly, don’t expect anything from each other.
Your business is just relationships
So my advice to any business person is to think differently about your business. Your business is just a collection of valuable relationships and the best businesses in the world will have the largest network and best relationships. Your business grows as a by-product of your relationships.
I speak, network and build relationships with people today at every possible moment. They may or may not be able to offer me something now, in a year or in ten years. I don’t care, if I like them, I’ll have a relationship with them and try to help them out where I can. As a by-product, not as an intention, I will win referrals, leads and sales on the back of these relationships.