There are so many moving parts to any successful business. As a successful business owner, I often get questions about how to successfully start a business from the ground up. One of the questions I get is “what is the most important thing to do when you are first starting a business?” For me, it always boils down to one thing:
BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS!
Your net worth at the beginning of a business is really your NETWORK. Who you surround yourself with is the #1 thing you should be focusing on, and it is the most important thing you need to be building. Your network provides you with people who give you value. However, ALWAYS find a way to give value to others! Your network is a powerful tool that allows you to share knowledge, find opportunities, increase your confidence, and build connections.
Here is an example of my network in action:
A friend called me up to tell me he wanted to sell a business in the very near future. I was able to connect him with another friend of mine who was aggressively looking for a business in the same location. This is networking in action! I was able to make a meaningful connection to friends in my network. Do I do this for the sole reason of benefitting from them one day? Absolutely not, networking is all about building meaningful relationships that last long.
Takeaway: ALWAYS build LONG LASTING and meaningful relationships.
It is also important to remember that your network needs to be more than just getting value from others. It is also about helping the people in your network be successful however you can.
Here are some tips to help grow a valuable network:
- Focus on connecting with the right people. You don’t need to go to a networking event and hand out your business card to everyone you meet. Networking is all about meeting the RIGHT people who are in your niche. You won’t make deals with every relationship you build. Keep in mind, a lot of networking is about gaining knowledge and learning from other’s mistakes or experiences.
- Create mutually beneficial relationships. If one person in the relationship is the one who is always giving value, but never receiving, this will not lead to a long lasting relationship– which is the goal. You need to make sure you are GIVING as well as receiving value.
- Be someone who is a connector. Like in the example I mentioned, networking is not always about gaining something. It is important to be the person who can connect different people in your network that can help each other. By doing this, you build trust and credibility in your relationships.
- Use social media. Social media is a powerful tool that can enrich and grow your network. Social media can make it easier to build up the relationships you have made, and also create new ones. I know it can be challenging to network on an app like Instagram, but model those conversations after ones you would have at an event. Especially since the pandemic, social media has become a key place to grow and create a valuable network.
Go and grow your network today, build relationships and learn from every person you meet. Soon enough, your network will be your biggest asset.