Starting a business can be daunting. When I first dipped my toe in the water, it seemed as though I was vigorously swimming upstream with no end in sight. That, combined with feeling pretty isolated by the vastness of cyber space, and working from my home office was a formula for overwhelm. Perhaps you’ve felt that way, or are currently feeling a bit lost and buried building a business all on your own.
First of all, take a deep breath and know that you are not alone! I am going to share some great strategies with you so that you can streamline your business operations and start networking with the right people, leaving you armed with the tools to –
- free you from feeling isolated, and
- leave you looking like the belle of the ball in your niche.
The big secret is understanding the importance and value of being a connector.
Tapping Your Inner Connector
Wanting to build a business network and get to know others in neighboring niches, I learned that showcasing amazing women entrepreneurs was an easy and incredibly valuable strategy. Shining the spotlight on someone other than yourself is a great way to get noticed and start a conversation. And the truth is that you never know how far one conversation can eventually go. What might begin with a tweeted shout out, turns into several, followed by an email, a guest blog post or interview, mutual respect and admiration, a joint venture, and if you’re lucky, a business ally. And that’s just one strategy of many you will be challenged to implement.
When people ask me how I got started, the simple answer is that I reached out to one amazing woman at a time. What you’ll discover is how quickly connections multiply and lead you to partnership opportunities, affiliate relationships, and more.
Benefits of Being a Connector
When you reach outside the four walls of your home office, you begin to leave the “solo” feelings behind. Even if logistically you can’t meet someone face to face, Skype is one tool that has made the world a whole lot smaller. Instead of only tweets or email, you can branch out and get to know someone better computer-screen-to-computer-screen. I’ve had a blast getting to know entrepreneurs across the nation, in England, Paris, and Sydney to name a few.
A second major benefit to connecting with others is that you will begin discovering new and innovative solutions to the challenges you’ve been facing (or didn’t even know you had), and can share a tip or two in return. Connecting with an expert outside your area of specialty enables you to gain new insight into how someone else is successfully running a business, or has overcome similar business hurdles. Plus, you become a vivid blip on their radar, which could ultimately lead to more introductions, a bigger audience, and lucrative ventures.
If you think you have nothing to offer, you are selling yourself short instead of shining brightly. You have tons of amazing gifts inside! Every business owner was at one time right where you are today. How do you think they got ahead? To make things simple, below are 5 strategies you can use to become a “Connector” in your business and reap the rewards in the process.
5 Essential Strategies for Successful Connecting
- Pick the Pond with the Best Fish – Are you still a bit leery of social media? Don’t let me scare you away with this first tip. Surfing social media networks is a great way to build your list of potential contacts. There’s no need to get dressed up, plan a lengthy elevator pitch or even leave your office. Social media allows you to start casually connecting. The key is to select the network that best fits your purpose. Want to connect with other business owners who share the same niche? Find out where they are hanging out (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and invest some time there each day watching, learning and sharing smart comments. See who others are following. LinkedIn Groups are other places to interact and connect with amazing entrepreneurs because they are targeted to specific interests. The deeper you dig, the more connections you can make.
- Do Your Homework – Before introducing yourself to someone new, take the time to do your research and make a short list of interesting facts and stats about the person. People love being noticed. Get some background by Googling their name, reading their LinkedIn profile, checking out a couple of their recent blog posts, seeing what they’ve been tweeting about, and finding out what’s new in their business. Doing reconnaissance work provides you with many talking points to discuss over time. Creating a cheat sheet for those you wish to get to know better is a smart first step in actually getting to know them. Define in advance how you might be of service to this person, and even join forces in the future. As with any activity in business, before jumping in, establish your purpose and plan to see it through. As a result, your connection efforts go more smoothly and successfully.
- Make the First Move – Once again, social media makes it simple to connect with just about anyone on your target list, and allow you to make first contact. Follow on Twitter, Fan on Facebook, add someone to a Google+ circle, or request to connect on LinkedIn. But when you do, follow-up with a pithy comment, share an “ah-ha” moment you had from reading something they wrote, or just retweet, repost, re-pin or post something they’ve contributed. Being thoughtful in your communications and it will probably elicit a positive response.
- Be a Valuable Tribe Member – The people in my Tribe who are most visible are those who are my biggest cheerleaders, and like to comment on, or share my news. These fans stay front and center in my mind, and motivate me to take a closer look at what they are sharing online so I may reciprocate and show my gratitude. Become a valuable member of a Tribe by being active. Rather than just gathering information, take the time to become a contributor. No matter what you do, do it with care and attention to detail, always aiming for quality.
- Attract Bees with Honey – One of my favorite strategies is shining a big spotlight on those I admire. There are many ways to do this, some of which I share below. My favorite way to showcase someone else is to record an interview that I may share with my audience. Not only does a guest expert gain exposure to a new audience, get their horn tooted, and have a chance to show their level of expertise, but I have the opportunity to learn something fabulous from every single one in the process.
These are just 5 ideas to get your inner connector in gear. Don’t limit yourself to reaching out. Be creative and figure out ways to draw people in, and build a Tribe of your own. Think about what your audience has need of, and brainstorm ways to creatively connect with others to provide solid solutions — Need some quick ideas?
- Write a free ebook around a specific solution to a pain point for your audience, and invite experts with similar audiences to contribute a chapter.
- Interview the top 3 women entrepreneurs you admire and create a how-to audio or video giveaway.
- Join a blog tour or create one of your own.
- Start a guest blog exchange with 5 entrepreneurs whose posts would be of great value to your audience and vice versa.
- Read and post book reviews of authors with whom you’d like to start a conversation.
- Or you could try something really crazy big if you’re feeling adventurous!
If you are ready to start leveraging the power of connections don’t miss your opportunity to get your hands on my latest ebook – Top 10 Strategies to Become a Successful Connector in Business – available now in our online store for instant download.
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