When I first started my business, I felt that I should be able to run every aspect of it myself. After all, I reasoned, it was my business and I should handle whatever was involved. Soon, I found that although I had skills, I also had holes; big, gaping holes where I was deficient. I knew publicity and I had a talent for connecting people, but I didn’t understand what a P & L was and why I needed it.
So I had to get training to learn the language, find out what was involved, what I could deduct, what was taxable, and all I was required to do. Then, I had to learn how to keep records, fill out forms, and make timely payments.
Much of what I had to learn didn’t come easy. I didn’t like it and it took valuable time away from productive, enjoyable activities that were building my business. So first chance I got, I hired a bookkeeper and then a CPA.
I learned a big lesson that has carried over to other aspects of my business. It taught me to constantly look for and identify areas where I need help. As a result, I now hire assistants, writers, editors, graphic designers, people to help me with my speaking career, and people to help me sell my speaking career. Since I travel so much, I work with an agency that handles whatever I need.
I appreciate experts and their wealth of knowledge. They have helped me over hurdles and taught me a great deal. They’ve also saved me loads of time. I constantly look for the best people in my areas of need and have been fortunate to have received so much help and learned from them.
To succeed in business, it takes teamwork; you can’t make it without help. The day of the Lone Ranger is long gone and even he had his trusty sidekick. Business is now a team sport.
Think how many credits run at the end of a motion picture — they can scroll for dozens of screens. People in pit crews at NASCAR races or those who back up the star attractions at live performances are only the ones you see; many more work behind the scenes.
Back then I attended the David Letterman show, which was a hoot. Throughout the show, Letterman occupied center stage while an extensive team, who viewers generally don’t see, constantly buzzed around him. In addition, to the band and his cast of on-camera players, Letterman has dozens of writers and production and technical people who even the audience never sees.
Networks are teams; groups of people who help one another achieve their objectives. Each network member has his or her own networks. So when your network gets a new member, it also receives that member’s network and everyone who belongs to it. Every member of your network and your members’ networks is a potential source of referrals as is each person he or she refers you to. When more people are involved, the number of referrals and new business you can receive can soar.
- Working with others can make your tasks easier, more pleasant, and more enjoyable.
- Networks give you access to people with whom you can confer and strategize.
- Network members become your friends; they can introduce you to new people, developments, and interests that can extend your reach.
Business is complex. It has numerous facets, many of which you may not know that well. You may be a great administrator, a financial genius, or a manufacturing whiz, but know little or nothing about sales, personnel, or product development. Fortunately, experts are available in each of your weak areas and can be added to your team.
Identify your existing network.
- List everyone you know who could help you.
- Next to each name write:
- What they do.
- How could they could help you.
- Underline the names of those who you think could be the most helpful in expanding your horizons. Make them your A Group: the people who could help you the most and with whom you want to solidify your relationship.
Networks are reciprocal arrangements. So build networks with partners who will refer business to you and will always do an excellent job for those you recommend. Align yourself with people who:
- Are like you and have similar values and goals. Having similar values is essential because it gives you a better chance of being on the same page, speaking the same language, and working well together. When you have the same values, it helps build trust. If your values differ, conflicts will invariably arise. People who understand my values know what is important to me. The more I insist on working with people who share my values, the easier, more successful, and more enjoyable my life has become. Identify your values so that you can find them in others.
- Can fill in your gaps. We all have shortcomings, areas in which we are not accomplished. We also can’t do everything, although we often try. Compensate for your weaknesses by aligning yourself with people who excel in areas in which you fall short. For example, I am a strong promoter, that’s my personality. I need to work with people who are analysts who keep me focused on business and the bottom line. However, I also want those people to share my values and understand what’s important to me.
- Are on a higher level. Notch it up; work with people who are smarter, more experienced, more accomplished, and better connected than you; people from whom you can learn.
Find the best coaches, teachers, instructors, and mentors. At first, working with experts may be awkward; you may feel that you are over your head. Usually, that’s just growing pains. Before long, you will get up to speed. As you work with more talented individuals, educate yourself by listening, reading, and taking courses so you can better absorb what they give. Be patient and willing to work your way up step-by-step; understand that you are involved in a process. Don’t try to jump from the bottom straight to the top because you could have a long, hard fall.
Jill Lublin is an international speaker on the topics of Publicity, Networking, Kindness and Referrals. She is the author of 4 Best Selling books including Get Noticed…Get Referrals (McGraw Hill) and co-author of Guerrilla Publicity and Networking Magic. Her latest book, Profit of Kindness went #1 in four categories. Jill is a master strategist on how to position your business for more profitability and more visibility in the marketplace. She is CEO of a strategic consulting firm and has over 25 years of experience working with over 100,000 people plus national and international media. Jill teaches a virtual Publicity Crash Course, and consults and speaks all over the world. She has spoken on many stages with luminaries such as Tony Robbins. Jill also leads an intentional kindness community. Visit publicitycrashcourse.com/freegift and jilllublin.com