I’m fascinated by the concept of business networking & business communities.
When I was a lass (many moons ago) my Dad would go ‘to see a man about a dog’ – it was a saying I heard many times which meant something was needed & he was going to meet someone to discuss this. My Dad started his own business, sand blasting coal blackened terraced houses in the 60s to make ends meet. He was a carpenter by trade and as times changed he had to adapt to his surroundings and look for other ways to earn a living (sound familiar?).
How did my Dad find clients? How did he find suppliers? Where did he buy his equipment from? He went ‘to see a man about a dog’! In other words he used his networks. He went out to talk to people, who knew people who wanted his services, could supply him with his equipment etc. People who knew my Dad knew he did a good job, at a good price. He worked on his customer service and delivered!
He knew if he gave great service then guess what they’d tell their neighbours, the man down the pub, the woman in the corner shop, the lady at bingo etc etc.
What Dad also understood is that if you help others, guess what? YOU get something back – satisfaction, a sense of worth & a warm heart. Give freely and don’t look for something in return. Just be happy to have helped another person along the way.
To me that’s what networking, business communities, contacts are all about. Looking for ways to help others.
So what’s changed in today’s world? Not a great deal other than the tools we use. We no longer go down the pub but we do get together through online social networks & networking events. We’re building communities online and taking these ‘offline’ aka meeting up.
Belonging to a community gives people a chance to get to know each other that bit better. What do we have in common, do we have the same work ethics. We judge each other on our morals, ethics, values.
It’s only when we get to know someone’s work ethics and what value they can add do we feel comfortable in recommending them to our networks. We feel (and are) judged by others on who we recommend. If you recommend someone to complete a job for one of your business contacts only to find that the job wasn’t done to a particular standard (1) how does that make you feel? (2) do you think that person would ask you to recommend someone in the future? (3) will your work be judged against the same standard?
Lots to consider when recommending others so it’s important you get it right – right?