I am sitting down at home writing this post after coming back from my weekly BNI Harvest networking this morning. Till today, I am still thankful to Ken Oon, who is one of my Business Mentors and he is the one who invited me to the BNI Harvest event 12 months ago. To me, BNI not only helps Business Owners like me to get referrals but also establish a supportive network that we can’t find elsewhere. Below, you will find out how I establish my support network.
I used to believe that friends are the best supportive network for anyone into business. But frankly, in business, you will find that your friends are the last group of people who will buy from you. Most of the time, people who buy from you are those who do not know you well but kind of like you. Don’t get me wrong, friends are still important in many aspects, but they can’t make a good business support network based on personal relationships. The people who will support your business are your alliances (the more business you have, the more they benefit) and clients (the more successful you make them, the more they support you – financially, at least).
I believe many Entrepreneurs and Sales Professional would agree with me that it is lonely when you have to do everything yourself especially in the beginning. No one will be there guiding you and giving you sincere advice about your business. Everyone is too busy with their own stuff nowadays. And this is why a supportive network is important.
Finding a supportive group for your business
The best way to get people supporting your business is to:- Support Other Businesses First. I only get to understand this when I join BNI and one of the founding members – Stephen Mok shares with me about the philosophy – Givers Gain. One thing to note is that you will get the most benefit out of this principle when you give first to the people who are in your Business Contact Sphere. For example, if I am a Web Designer, my contact sphere will be Web Developer, Web Hosting Company and Internet Marketing Companies.
When you start to give business referrals to your contact sphere, they will in turn want to refer you back businesses. Only once these referrals start to take place, then you are ready to move onto the next stage – collaboration. It is during the collaboration stage where we will start to care about other people’s business. Why? Simple, because your success is directly related to your partners’ success!
Now, imagine this. If you start to collaborate with other businesses (can be a form of Integration Marketing etc), do you think they will care more about your businesses and give you advice on how you can improve your business? Definitely yes! I am always looking forward to opportunities to speak to someone in my BNI chapter about my business plan because I always receive feedback based on the members’ experiences. This is one of the invaulable lessons that I learnt after joining BNI.
By the way, I have started a new category to talk about BNI and the lessons I learn as a business owner. If you are new to business or is considering to join BNI Singapore, I hope that my posts will help you in some ways =)
Weekend is coming soon, have a great celebration and keep your passion burning!