I often see business owners and CEOs trapped in their own bubbles. They never seem to find the time or desire to get out of the office and into the business community. They keep their heads down and plow through day by day. They work long hours and on nights and weekends. They are hurting themselves by being so insular and isolated. You can’t go it alone. You need your pit crew.
The days are long gone when someone would pick up the Yellow Pages when they needed to find a service provider. It’s now based mostly on word of mouth, and referrals from friends and colleagues. There are even companies and websites set up to help people find trusted advisors and service partners. It’s important to work with people you can trust, and who are experts in their fields. Choosing a poor vendor can prove disastrous.
The best way to find these vendors is to constantly be networking. It’s better to have met someone and built a trusted relationship before they are needed. The more you know each other and understand each other’s business, the better the relationship will be when you are in a position to work together. This also helps prevent you from being bombarded by salespeople who are only looking to close a deal. A trusted advisor provides better information and advice. In most cases, they will be able to better design the right solution, without adding products or services you don’t need.
A personal introduction from someone you trust is always best. Another way to meet people is to attend networking events and meetings. There are many groups that meet regularly, often with a speaker and presentation, but also just to connect at happy hour. Two places I’ve found that are particularly useful for finding events are Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com. You can meet and speak with people at the event, or schedule follow-up meetings over coffee.
By making networking a deliberate part of your schedule, you’ll begin to build a circle of trusted advisors in a variety of industries. If you reach a point where you need a specialist and you haven’t yet met one through networking, at least you will have other trusted partners that you can ask for a referral. Chances are someone in your network will know someone with the skills and information you desire. Get out of the office and start building your team now. You might even meet a great new customer or your next top employee.
Image courtesy of schumachergirl1956 (Source)