A business can’t thrive without an audience, and business owners can’t thrive without friends.
The power of a diverse professional network is stunning, when you think about it. The people you know in your industry are more than people you say hello to at a conference every few months or so.
When you own and operate a business of any size, it’s the peers around you that will help you shine. Consider the different ways a strong professional network can build up your business, lead to financial growth, and expose you to broader audiences.
You might not believe it, but in the age of the Internet and a constant onslaught of advertisements, word of mouth still remains one of the most powerful methods of getting your business’s name to a potential audience’s mind.
Why? Because when consumers hear about a business from their friends or peers, it comes to them from a reputable source. People trust their friends. That trust can turn back to you as financial gain, so long as you take care to ensure that your clients’ experiences are top-notch.
It’s not just your clients, though, that can spread the word about your services. The peers you have in your industry are just as fundamental to the growth of your business.
While you shouldn’t paste on a fake smile and try to manipulate anyone, you should go out of your way to make a good impression on the other businesses operating in your sphere. When you come across as kind, forthright, and skilled in your field, you encourage your peers to share your name with their clients, friends, or family.
Circulation of your good reputation can lead to more business for you in the long run.
Likewise, the peers you have in your industry can help you maintain your business’s limits.
When you first start operating, you may find that you’re working with clients who ask you to perform tasks that are outside of your wheelhouse. When you know people whose businesses can serve a client’s needs, you can reach out to that friend and collaborate on a client’s project.
Now, collaboration may seem as though it’s code for “lessen your overall business.” That’s not the case, though.
When you run a business, it’s natural for you to want to try and meet all of your clients’ needs. However, it’s better to delegate tasks to people you know with the right experience than to try and tackle an unfamiliar problem on your own.
Not only will delegation and outsourcing ensure that your clients’ projects are completed, but you’ll be able to use these opportunities to better get to know your peers and build up both of your businesses simultaneously.
You can also rely on your peers to build up your business’s authority.
This process operates differently than word of mouth, as it involves a little bit of communication and a little bit of SEO.
To start, when you first get your business up and running, testimonies from clients you’ve worked with or authorities in your field can assure your potential audience that you intend to help them to the best of your ability. By relying on your peers, you can begin to garner a reputation as a strong and dependable business.
As you begin content marketing campaigns or social media bursts in order to get your name circulating, you can lean on your market peers for a bit of limelight. For example:
All of these methods get your name out to a larger audience than you could generate on your own. As such, your referential network can help your business start to grow.
Finally, you can offer all of these same benefits to other business owners in your industry.
Helping a young business grow leads not only to an increase in your business’s perceived authority but also improved relationships with business owners who are bringing fresh ideas to your field.
It’s important, after all, to pay back the kindnesses your peers once showed to you. As your business grows, then, see what you can do in order to help the businesses around you find their feet.
Your referential network will be all the stronger for your efforts.
Photos via Stocksnap.io