Do you know what the single most important thing is in business?
It’s the same “most important” thing in family, in health and in life.
Your success is almost 100% determined by the quality and quantity of your relationships. If you have good relationships, you can overcome any setback, you can conquer any problem and you can grow faster than you ever thought possible.
As we take this 12-part look at the marketing and business strategies that my friends and I are using, we’ve gotten to one of my favorites: simple partnerships.
So let’s look at a favorite method I’ve created for myself around partnerships:
The Smart Strategy
There are three ways I could better use these Expert Calls, making them more to my advantage.
(Can you guess what they are?)
1) BETTER LIST-BUILDING: I could ask my guests to promote the call to their list, too. That way we would BOTH get some list-building benefit.
2) REUSE THE CONTENT: I could re-package the interviews as a series. I could offer them as “Best of…” recordings, or even repackage them as a podcast.
3) TIT-FOR-TAT: I could ask for something in return. I could ask for my experts to do an interview with me to their list at a later time, or to do an affiliate mailing for me.
But as it is, I’d rather leave this particular series “pure” – it makes it more fun for me, and honestly, I don’t need for it to grow my list or make me more money right now. I may rethink this in the future, but for right now, it’s just a joy.
Idea You Could Borrow for Yourself
I can think of a few different ideas you could borrow from this strategy:
1) Give your prospects an opportunity to describe their problems and questions in their own words. That kind of market research is indispensable.
2) Start your own interview series. And don’t be afraid to ask “big names” – you’d be surprised how willing people are to be interviewed, especially when it doesn’t come with the provisos of a summit.
3) Take a look at the caliber of your professional relationships. Are you hanging out with “better tennis players”? If not, make it a top priority to seek out a program, organization or society that contains the kind of people you’d like to emulate.
Let me know what you come up with, OK?
P.S. I am proud to be a friend, colleague, student, Big Fan and affiliate for many of the teachers, writers and healers I’m discussing in this email series. I trust that you will trust your intuition, do your own research and only get involved in things that are right for you. Good? Good. Thanks. – S.
Whatever your current project is, you oughtn’t try to go it alone.
Working alone can lead to stagnancy, burn-out and soul-damaging procrastination.
Working with others leads to better ideas, swifter execution and greater resources.
Five Ways To Help You Find Your People
Here are five suggestions of places you might look to build your support system:
1) Create A Group Within A Group
Think of groups/communities to which you already belong and see if you can’t find some like-minded folks to team up with there.
Your alumni association
Your religious/spiritual group
Your book group
Your softball team (or perhaps the folks in the bleachers?)
Your gym/dance studio/tennis club
The dog park
Your professional associations, unions, etc.
Your recreational group: your choir, orchestra or garden club
Creating a sub-group from an existing group is a great strategy because you already know each other at least a little bit, and you know you have some shared interests.
So at the next meeting, just make a little announcement or pass around a flyer that says, “I’m creating a group that will meet once a week at our local coffee shop to support each other in executing our individual creative projects through brainstorming, cheerleading and sharing of resources. Interested? Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
2) Find a Virtual Group
The Internet is a fabulous place to interact with people from all over the world. Use normal precautions, of course, and while you might want to be discreet with your personal information, feel free to be lavish in your support and praise of others.
Find or create a Facebook Group (super-easy to do).
Join the conversation on some Blogs you admire.
Check out Etsy.com (website for selling homemade art and crafts) not only for their great merchandise, but to find like-minded artists with whom to correspond.
Create a NING.com group – that’s like creating your own private Facebook, sort of.
Check out Seth Godin’s “Triibes” group at http://www.squidoo.com/tribesbook and if you’re interested, contact me and I’ll “invite” you to join his online community.
Go to BlogHer.com, iVillage.com, Digg.com or delicious.com and find the blogs, websites and online communities that already exist and are just waiting for you to join in the fun!
3) Go Where They Are
Stake out the physical location where potential allies might hang out and start some friendly conversations with both the staff and the customers. Make sure you follow your instincts – don’t start talking to someone you don’t feel comfortable with.
This has the added advantage of getting you out of the house.
4) Small But Mighty Masterminds
For several years now I have been part of a three-person mastermind group. We meet on the phone once a week for 90 minutes. Each person gets half an hour to talk, ask questions, brainstorm, whine and cry…whatever. We help each other devise strategies, proofread marketing materials, create websites, discuss pricing, solve problems, commiserate and cheerlead.
I guarantee that this weekly meeting has contributed more to my growth and success as an artist and an entrepreneur than any other single element in my life. Having smart, trusted advisers who are always on my side is better than gold. They challenge me, hold me accountable and celebrate with me.
Here are some guidelines we’ve used in creating our group:
Commitment to the group is critical – we almost never miss a call.
Honor time allotments – you can say or do whatever you want with your half-hour, but you only get a half-hour.
The relationships are more important than the work – whatever happens, our first and primary commitment is to each other and to our friendship.
Confidentiality is key – no gossiping allowed.
Celebrate wins – each week we find a way to praise each person for her growth, her success, her honesty…we are all about positive reinforcement.
Encourage and keep track of accountability goals. “Do you want to make a commitment around XYZ?” “Yes. By our next call I will have XYZ done or at least investigated other solutions.” And then the next week we ask about XYZ.
There are lots of books and websites dedicated to forming mastermind groups – check them out, experiment until you find the PERFECT people to partner with and watch your life improve!
5) Just One Friend
Even having one friend to talk things over with can get you started and pointed in the right direction.
But be discriminating.
Make sure your friend is:
smarter than you are (at least in some ways)
safe (will not gossip, deliberately hurt your feelings or tease you)
And tell me: What ways have you found to build community?