Back in the day, business was all about competition, prestige, and presence. Business owners kept a close eye on their competitors and invested their money in looking more profitable, prominent, and successful than similar businesses in the area. The bigger they looked the better they liked it, even though the numbers might not have reflected their superiority. Being seen to be a significant business in any given field depended largely on image, on peoples’ perception of you in the local community.
The internet has changed ALL of that!
These days, more than anything else, cooperation and collaboration are the keys to lasting success. It’s now possible to cooperate and collaborate with people on the other side of the world and, thanks to Google Translate, even language is no longer a barrier!
It Makes Perfect Sense!
Cooperation and collaboration have become the ace in the pack for growing a business. Look at how many automobile manufacturers are using the same components, engines, and running gear. Look how many Real Estate companies are listing for sale other agents’ properties with an agreement to share the profits. And it’s happening at every level. Why? Because it makes perfect sense to do so, that’s why. It’s more important than ever to seek out others who can support, promote, endorse, and recommend you. The better you get at it, the more often your phone will ring. And it doesn’t cost anything!
Advertising versus Personal Recommendation
These days it’s very difficult to make business advertising work effectively AND within a reasonable budget. We are bombarded with advertising 24/7. Just getting anyone to read an ad is an accomplishment, let alone respond to it. It’s been said that you only have 2 seconds to get someone’s attention in an advertisement these days, and after 7 seconds, if you’re not speaking their language, they’re gone. Advertising is both a science and an art, for those who understand it. For the rest of us, it remains a mystery! But personal recommendation never gets old, tired, or ineffective! Just look at how social media has boosted recommendations and endorsements for all kinds of business. General Electric uses it. So does the local tattoo artist. Plus, most people have become jaded regarding advertising. They often look at it with a grain of salt, not quite believing anything that is said in the ad. Instead, they look to recommendations and reviews. Personal experience - even the experience of strangers - is more believable and works better than advertising!
Connecting With Others
Switched-on, internet-aware entrepreneurs have adapted tried and tested strategies to work on the world-wide web. They’ve made businesses hugely profitable using cutting edge technology. But at some level, sooner or later, being personable still becomes important. All entrepreneurs are personable at some level. That doesn’t necessarily mean they all have the outgoing personality of a Richard Branson. Many business owners are quite introverted, but when they connect, they connect very well with others. The common trait is that they are all great listeners. They pay attention when someone is talking. They’re also good at reading people. These are all business skills that can be learned over time, but faster is usually better for most entrepreneurs!
Seize Every Opportunity
Seize every opportunity you can to engage with those who already know what you need to learn. Everything that is reciprocal is good for everyone. Both paying it forward AND paying it back become very useful strategies. Building, nurturing, and engaging with useful individuals to promote you and your business is a whole lot of fun. If you seek out others with common interests, similar values, and perspectives in alignment with yours, you can also find friends for life.
There are no limits to where you can go and what you can do with your personal contacts. Bear in mind that not everyone will be ready RIGHT NOW to work with you. But if you nurture the relationship in an effective way, when the time IS right, everything will fall into place. Growing a business both nationally and internationally is dependent on both the quantity and quality of your contacts and how well you nurture them. But what’s even more exciting is not just about who YOU know, it’s about who THEY know, and then who THEY know! With the advent of Social Media, it’s possible to create strong connections with people in 100 countries or more around the world if you put your mind to it. ALL of these connections can be created, nurtured, and developed on a one-to-one basis: Friends recommending friends, colleagues recommending colleagues, enthusiasts recommending fellow enthusiasts and so on, from every conceivable walk of life, from every culture, in every age group, male, female. Even if you’re working from home from your modest set-up on your kitchen table, you can have customers, business partners, promoters, and endorsers in Peru, Australia, Singapore, Norway, and Tahiti, and you can connect with all of them in the same day! And because of the time zone differences, you can even make money from your business while you sleep. How cool is that? Bottom line is this. People skills are paramount for growing a successful business with Cooperation and Collaboration.
Do You Have What It Takes?
The good news is that EVERYONE already has an abundance of people skills. They may just need to be polished a little and put into practice in a way that works for you. Polishing occurs with practice. The more opportunities you seize to engage with others, the more you learn, the more you grow, and the more your capabilities expand. And so does your business.
Make it part of who you ARE, not just what you do, and you and your business will thrive.