It’s on the nose!

I’ve had a great morning, just cleaned the wheely ‘garbo,’ the bin. Treated her to a …

disinfectant and hose, she’s a little on the nose.’

Working at home is like that, isn’t it? I mean, it’s the flexibility …. we get things done when we want, we schedule stuff in like a walk with the dog, a leisurely breakfast perhaps or a visit to the beach before the day even starts.

Routines are good although being accountable, working alone and the routine for self-preservation, planning to make a crust can take some doing. A little balance is needed so I tend to work well in advance and ensure my diary is up to date. How about you?

Mulling over forward plans the night before is good for me. I do have a tendency to revise my ‘stuff,’ including the plan for the following day and it’s just as I’m falling asleep, evening peace and clarity brings some surprisingly good results.

Holes in the net?

The regular meeting I was due to attend this morning had been planned months in advance. A dozen or more like-minded souls from the Weekly Business Network are looking to put down roots for new referral forum. It has shown great promise.

Today though I awoke early to find that a half of the regulars had other ‘things’ planned. One was a family welfare call (fair play) always family first! Another couldn’t face the walk(!) someone else had taken a last minute order she needed to fulfil while another suggested it was going to be impossible to stop the car between regular appointments.

Couldn’t stop the car? For our appointment?

So with a net that had so many holes it was a no-brainer that any messages I’d planned during introduction were going to be lost this time ’round, and so I made decided to contact our featured speaker, advising him of our postponement to his presentation, did the same with the caterer, the venue and followed-up with our intended guests …

It’s great to get up early’ I thought to myself.

Networking. The regular contact with like-minded business owners is a great way to show your colours, your intention … a great opportunity to enhance the reputation, don’t you think?

It’s our choice. We can come up smelling roses or if you’re not careful the scent may be a little more repugnant. Think wheely bin … you may need a spring clean.

All I’m looking for …

All I’m looking for is the same as everyone else Charlie. More business, I’m looking for more interest in what I have to offer.

So what are you doing about that Ben?

OK, I’m online, I’m so social it’s become anti-social! I’m taking pics with my right hand and posting with my left. Likes, retweets, mentions, the lot! I even go networking, just like you, on occasion, when I get the time …

Ever think ‘balance’ Ben?

Anyone in business is fishing to some extent. The look-out for the opportunity that may just influence our business prospects should, as you demonstrate, be a constant part of our psyche. But hold on for a minute, don’t you think you may be overcooking the (anti) social stuff, just a little? Perhaps think about changing your fishing lure, think balance, Ben.

Quality over quantity?

Exactly, let’s cut down on the ambidextrous stuff(!) and concentrate on the quality of the message. After all, if you can help people with differentiation and what makes you different while spending some time on specifics, you may just begin to attract like-minded souls who may be able to help refer your offer.

Make your offer scarce Ben. Be that difference. Encourage your next best customer to come to you.

How do I define my difference?

Just as I said Ben, try and cut down on the blanket media messages. Be selective, focus on the ideal introduction you are looking for. Spend time with face to face networks, encourage dialogue, build the familiarity and the relationships. Ask questions, find your fit. Bring your character to the fore, encourage the trust to create the future opportunity.

We cannot be all to all people Ben.

Dream on

So Doug said that I was only looking out for myself, lining my own pockets and that I really only make ‘it’ all up as I go along …

There are times when hearing a declaration such as this that I deny all knowledge, refute the evidence and argue until I was almost ‘blue in the face.’

I’d just finished a conversation suggesting that Doug’s working practice was not conducive to better business. I tactfully (so I thought) pointed out that he couldn’t keep breaking appointments and disappointing colleagues, therefore it was in his own best interest and that of the Forum, that he should consider standing aside so that another might take his place as the ‘specialist in the room.’

It hadn’t gone down particularly well …

‘But they’re my friends, my customers.’ Came the reply.

Really, so is this how you treat your valued clients Doug?

Doug was right about a couple of things though. I was making up the business model as I went along. After all, I had twenty-five years experience in such matters and by now I had a good idea of what worked and perhaps what did not. It was also true when Doug suggested I was out to make a living for myself.

After all, as a business Forum, most are attending for the connection, I am no different to anyone else who habitually met with others at a given time and place to discuss lead and referral. The opportunity is there for anyone wishing to inform and inspire others to collaborate.

I’m attending regularly, offering myself the same valuable ‘air-time’ as anyone else who regularly attended the network Forum. We’re not having to think about ‘fees,’ or any direct competition in the room, this particular field of business is dead level, completely transparent.

An easy environment to tell us what you want so that we may see how we can help you.

If you are not attending we do not see you, if we don’t see or hear you, we cannot develop the relationship or consider the trust, let alone the referral.

Think reputation Doug.

Embrace the Process

The trouble with the process?

Here’s the deal … a friend of mine has just found a certain amount of recognition with a rock band he is working with. See Nervus.

I’ve known him a while, since he was a youngster and when catching up recently I was pleasantly surprised to see the confident young fella he’d become. As a kid he wasn’t particularly keen on the company of people, he actually went out of his way to be less than social, preferring the association of just close friends. His bandmates.

Over recent years though, association and experience have contributed to this development. Now here before us is a fellow who has learned much from his fraternity/peers. Being in the company of those close friends and colleagues, being part of ‘a band’ of people with the same goals and following a given process have contributed to his success.

Not that success has been plain sailing … after all, it rarely is for those who become successful. There’s time spent failing, falling out, picking up again. Time developing the trust and intent among colleagues.

Similar can be said for the process of networking for the referral.

Most understand that networking is the process of engagement, developing relationships, trust and partnerships.

For some though, the net just doesn’t work for them.

Many of us in business find that a certain hiatus comes along in most strategic processes until any significant results are seen at all. Success is dependent on such things as product, service, clarity. Persistence. Trust. It depends on the message, the transparency and the “bizability” – the art of being on the spot, familiar to your audience and available for business.

What does it take to be successful at networking?

Understanding the process. The trouble with the process … is that not everyone embraces the process. Ask Nervus.

Your story?

So, what’s your story?

How do you, stick in the mind?

All around us, media often appears full of ‘stuff’ designed ~ just for you ~ right at ‘peak times,’ perhaps the ‘stuff’ hits you just before you jump in the car and head off to the office … over the car radio, during lunch break, the commute home maybe. Everywhere there are stories to stick in your face so that it’s stuck in your mind.

So, the way I see it, being sticky can be useful if we are to be successful in business life. Business/life, closely aligned, right?

Think about how people remember you. What do they recall of you when next you catch up or more importantly when they meet up with mutual friends at the regular network soirée?

Being a witness to the conversation, would it be something you’d expect? Are you remembered as being the best that you can be?

The thing is, every interaction we have with someone leaves an impression, sometimes a lasting one. So for me (I know this is also true for many of my close friends), it’s important that MY STORY is a faithful representation of what others expect of me, each time we meet up.

Why? Because each of us is our own mini media outlet.

‘What?’ I hear you say, just hang on a minute, bear with me for a second …

It’s true. What kind of sticky are you? What stories do you conjure, what memories evoked, how do people see you in their life? It’s just the same as that current ‘hot’ company vying for your time and attention before you’ve even ordered the best-ever morning coffee and … the cake!

Showing kindness on a regular basis is important. Agreed. Love? That’s a no-brainer for me as well, but in today’s ‘circus’ of life … if we are to really embrace the power of relationships, affinity and trust let’s leave the right messages out there. Better still, let’s ensure our closest allies see our true colours and have every chance of passing the message that YOU and your story are that which is best remembered, most easily referred.