Independent Business People

October 21, 2010

Independent businesses contribute tremendous value.

The environment required in order for us to continue being able to do that is threatened every day – threatened by government and by big business.  We need level the playing field so that we are able to reach the public with our message and provide our products and services and show and tell and do what we do best: provide quality service and products at a great value.

What are you doing to elevate the visibility and educate the public of the value of the independent business person?

Chuck

chuck@businesscoachchuck.com

http://www.businesscoachchuck.com

 

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Whether we follow our gut or a well structured plan actually depends upon how well we have practiced successfully what we have a hunch about.  If we have successfully gotten the result we want in something we have a hunch to do, then there is a good chance that following our “gut” is a good idea.  What we are actually following here, however, is muscle memory.  We are following a well structured plan that we have practiced so much it has become a hunch.

Even in cases where we have had great success, however, the caveat to following our hunch is to be observant of reality.  One guy had a great investment strategy that had worked well for him. Then, he bought six stocks in a row that went against him.  He became stubborn because of his previous success and did not recognize that the experience he was having with the six bad trades, was a foreshadowing of a changed market.  Consequently, he lost a lot of money.  So, no matter how good we have been, be open to reevaluating the facts in light of new information.

In summary, if you are in the zone, stay in the zone, but when results begin to vary, adjust quickly, let go of the hunch to move on to something new or different.

Coach Chuck

chuck@businesscoachchuck.com

Business Coach Chuck @ 973-670-7215

What are the things that you consider when deciding whether or not to go into a partnership?  A partnership should be among people that bring complementary strengths together that when combined are greater than the sum of the parts.  In other words, the two people, if working together with common goals, will achieve more than they could alone.

The key here is complementary strengths. Take two attorneys that practice different kinds of law who are always finding that they often refer the other attorney’s kind of law out to some one else.  This might be the basis of the two attorneys getting together to discuss a partnership.  Could the two together gather resources that would allow each more success in their chosen fields?  If yes, then the process then is to discover whether or not the partnership is a good fit.

A partnership, like a marriage, is a very comprehensive relationship.  Issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, compatible work ethic and working styles are just as important as whether or not business complement exists.

Very often people will form a partnership based upon the personal issues of trust, compatibility, shared vision, work ethic and style without examining the actual business compliment elements.  Other times, people will form a partnership based upon business partnership without examining the more personal issues.  Either of these methods have a poor prognosis of success.

Strategic Partnerships however can be entered on a very limited basis.  For instance, the two attorneys above may decide that if they share office space and staff and agree to refer each other, without partnerships beyond that, may, in some circumstances, find greater success than trying to bring together a shared vision and so forth.  A Financial Planner and Personal fitness trainer may decide to run a workshop together addressing the needs of retirees, without any obligation to each other beyond the workshop.

When contemplating a partnership, consider the question: what makes us a partnership that is greater than what we would be on our own?  Further, ask if these accomplishments are greater than what could be accomplished through strategic agreements or partnerships, rather than a full-blown partnership.  If the answer to these point to partnership, then carefully consider your commitment of each partner to each of the other partners success and how that would change in good times and bad – to put another way, through sickness and health.

www.businesscoachchuck.com

chuck@businesscoachchuck.com

Coach Chuck

973-670-7215

As a summary, partnerships are for those joining complementary strengths between compatible people with a shared vision.  This is truly a rare relationship. Strategic partnerships are like dates.  One can engage in strategic partnerships with a greater attitude of experimentations.

In order for business networking to be successful, it must be put to the same tests as any other business activity.  Before engaging in business networking, ask:

a)       What are my objectives in business networking?

b)      What strategies will I employ?

The answers given to these questions should be relatively simple to understand and easy to measure.

For instance, a business person’s objectives in networking might be to:

  1. Get clients.
  2. Build referral source relationships.

Or, for the job seeker, the goals of networking might be:

  1. To get in front of a person who can hire me for a job that I want.
  2. Build referral relationships with people who can get me in front of people who can hire me for a job that I want.

One Strategy for achieving this goal is to look at the process of getting:

From the point where we are now (certain number of clients) (unemployed) (in a job that we do not like)

To where we want to be (more clients) (employed in a job we want)

… as a process.  This process is something I call a pipeline.

To visualize this pipeline,  think of a big open funnel.  At the top of the pipeline we have a) prospective clients and b) prospective referral sources.  At the end of the pipeline we have clients.   In between, we have qualified prospective clients, qualified referral sources, referral sources and, finally, clients.

Open networking is the process of meeting lots of people from which we can feed the front of the pipeline.  How we qualify them and move them forward is how we are going to reach our goal.  This requires that we network with purpose.  Therefore, as people are met, we must make decisions along the way: how are we going to define a qualified referral source.  This is going to be important, because if we spend all of our time talking to people that are not qualified prospective clients or qualified referral sources then we will not have time to talk to people that are qualified.  The net result will be that our net result is random rather than what we want it to be.

Networking results, to be effective, need to be measured:  Measured means with numbers.  How many qualified referral sources and qualified prospects do I have?  How many prospective client meetings or interviews have resulted?  Is that ratio improving or declining?  If it is improving, keep doing what we are doing, if it is declining … step back and evaluate.  Going by feel is not good.  It may have felt good to have three meetings with people at Starbucks today, but if it did not move the pipeline forward, that feeling will evaporate along with the caffeine buzz.

The front end of the pipeline, finding people to network with in order to find prospective clients and prospective referral sources in much easier today than it once was.  Go to meetup.com or Linkedin and find out where groups are meeting that meet the general criteria of people that “could” meet your criteria.  Go there.  Meet them.

When you get home and you find that you have a stack of business cards, divide them into people that are prospective referral sources, prospective clients or neither.  Enter them into your data base.  I use Yahoo, but I’m not pushing them.  Use any data base that allows you to create categories for your contacts.  Have categories for each phase of your pipeline.  This pipeline should be dynamic.  No one should stay a prospective referral source forever.  Most of us are much too eager to have people like us.  What we want to find out from these people is: are they in a position to refer or hire us or not?  “Maybe” is NOT the answer we want. “No” is infinitely better than “Maybe.”  “Maybe” keeps us spinning our wheels.  Come up with your strategy on how to touch base and qualify your prospective referral sources and prospective clients. Then follow through with your strategy.  The pipeline keeps moving.  Your data base changes.  It is moving all the time.  New people coming in.  Old people going out.  Interviews and new prospects, new clients and job offers.  It is alive!  This is when networking is working.

Networking, then, is like any other business process.  It requires purpose, planning, strict definition, implementation, measurement of results and continual adjustments based upon outcome.  This is a process I’ve designed for the purpose of achieving personalized business results.

 

Coach Chuck

chuck@businesscoachchuck.com – email

https://coachchuck.wordpress.com/ – Blogs on different topics

http://www.squidoo.com/business-coach-chuck a fun site with some testimonials, book recommendations and stuff like that.

www.businesscoachchuck.com – my basic website – about us, packages etc….