If you’re a freelancer, picking up some great jobs through PPH, or a business looking for services from the freelance community, wouldn’t it be great to crack the code of ultimate success, and grow a business of scale with lasting value?
I’ve spent years studying what creates a great business, and the common thread which separates success from failure is simply this:
The ability to build a powerful, trusted network.
Successful entrepreneurs invariably attract an inner circle of the most qualified and suitable partners, suppliers and customers who will practically guarantee them success.
I call this process Connectology, and it’s the art of intelligent networking.
Here are 7 ways to use Connectology principles to identify the toxic or useless relationships in and around your business, and create new relationships of mutual value:
1: You always have to back down on price, and customers don’t pay enough.
Solution: You don’t have to compete on price to win customers, unless the product is literally a commodity with no differentiating features from anyone else’s. (Hint: find a different product if that’s happening!)
More often, you simply have to compete on value, which is a whole lot different from price:
Value: what your customer gains from using your product or service.
Price: what they’re prepared to pay in exchange for that value.
Make sure all your marketing messages promote solutions and value first, before price is even mentioned. That way you’ll only ever connect with customers who need and want what you’re offering, and are prepared to pay whatever it costs to get it.
2: Low-spending customers take up a large proportion of your time.
Solution: This is a cousin of number 1 and probably means you’ve undersold yourself and connected with the wrong customers for your business.
Make a list right now. Open a blank doc and start typing:
“The five companies I would most like to have as customers are…”
Then, research the CEOs using LinkedIn, and send an engaging email about why they need you, right now.
Doing exactly this, I gained Aston Martin, Halfords and Optical Express as customers within 30 days!
3: People in and around your business are wearing you down.
Solution: They say you are the product of the people closest to you. It’s certainly true that those you work with are your key assets and influencers, so it’s essential that you apply some strict criteria before you connect.
For me, I can’t work with smokers, loud and bossy people, or folks who won’t look after their health, diet or fitness. Negativity is a big no-no too.
Make your own personal checklist of non-negotiable conditions to apply before you employ or partner with anyone, and treat the selection process as seriously as finding a spouse.
Plenty of people would be grateful for the chance to work with you!
4: You feel alone, isolated and singularly responsible for the success or failure of your business.
Solution: It’s tough and lonely at the top, they say. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. That’s why you get paid more than the others.
All that’s true, kind of. But none of that stops you building a trusted Inner Circle of advisers, co-conspirators and supporters who will help keep you on the right track, and share the load when the going gets tough.
What you need from an Inner Circle is complementary skills which, when added to your own talents, create a world-beating team.
That way, you can focus on only doing what only you can do, and have others do the rest.
5: You’re constantly worrying about money, and the bank never helps
Solution: Any of this sound familiar?
1. You don’t have a direct line to your personal banking adviser
2. You hang on for a customer service representative to answer the phone
3. The online banking portal is like a bad 90s web-page
4. You’ve never had a call or visit from a bank manager
5. You’ve had requests for an appropriate overdraft turned down
If you have a viable business which is either making money already or is demonstrably capable of making money, you have no reason to be mired in a relationship with a lousy bank.
Use a comparison site to find a business bank with great reviews, and switch today.
6: Your business is stuck in a rut, and not growing as quickly as you’d like
Solution: I have a confession to make: I’m terribly lazy. Not in everything I do, but when it comes to applying traditional sales and marketing strategies. So, I started using a lazy-man’s way to find customers.
Instead of finding my own customers, I connect and partner with other organisations who’re already selling to my customers.
Ask your customers for introductions to their customers. Partner with agencies and other businesses complementary but not competing with yours.
These are true joint ventures, which can open up so much more of the world than you could by yourself.
7: Suppliers are raising prices and lowering service
When I was looking around to replace a notoriously bad mobile service provider, I pinged a short note to three of my trusted network, asking them who they use, and what their current experience of them was.
Their feedback gave me two-to-one in favour of my now current supplier, and I have never been happier to pay monthly fees for my favourite communication medium.
It’s a rare business indeed which has to remain beholden to any particular supplier for any product or service. Ask your connections for advice and tips and use them to find suppliers who are grateful to sell you what you need on the terms you want.
So, there you have it. 7 ways to declutter your business and build a network of power around you.
Hope that helps.
About the Author
Jonny Cooper is a lifetime entrepreneur, having launched over 20 businesses and been involved in hundreds more as a coach and mentor.
He built a financial empire from zero to eight figures, before selling in 2003 to a stock-market listed corporation.
Now a full-time educator and coach, Jonny is launching The Success Party in 2017, an online membership platform to reach as many people as possible with the message that you can truly be extraordinary.
His new book, “Connectology – How Your Network Is Ruining Your Business!” will be published in September 2017.
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