When it comes to building and running a self-sustaining business, realizing that you don’t work in a bubble is the first step towards success.
Whether it is clients, customers, or vendors, the idea that you are a Company of One, as Paul Jarvis has labeled it, does not mean you are literally a business on an island. Creating a community of networks supports your business growth.
You need clients whom you charge billable hours or projects and customers who purchase your products. You are likely not capable of wearing all the hats you need to connect with vendors, software apps, consultants, and other professional services to fill in the gaps as you go.
Who do you know?
Are you just starting out in your business?
Getting to know others in your industry is invaluable right now. Not only will you get a sense of best business practices as well as an idea of the competitors in your market you will also become part of the community which will help spread the word about your company.
Where do you start?
Check out local networking events (and yes, they are more likely virtual right now) and show up and engage. While attending networking events, you will have chances to comment and interact with others and see where this takes you.
Try to find a creative, marketing, or small business community. Accountability groups help with:
- Ongoing accountability: moderated virtual or in-person meetings
- Expert access from industry guests and presenters
- Conversation and community: interacting with peers
- Tools to fuel: answers to questions, and recommendations about business process tools
- The feedback you need: online community check-ins
When you find yourself searching for the best financial app or local printer, check in with those you know in your networks. While you are at it, make sure you mention their referral to the contact when you get in touch if it’s a person. If it’s an app resource, show a thank you in social media tagging them that you appreciated the referral.
The same advice can be used even if you have been in business awhile.
Your connections run dry lately? Time to get back out there and engage with social media, as well as your contacts and clients inquiring about advice and referrals.
When you win, others around you do as well. So get out there and connect with creatives, vendors, and watch your business grow!