Remember the statement; “No man is an island?” Well, that is truer than ever in business today. Thanks to the internet, the world is so connected today that it is virtually impossible to operate any gainful business alone. Even the guy who details my cars has a beautiful website!
I always got a kick out of the expression “self-made millionaire.” What’s that? You mean that they didn’t need to connect with any other businesses to get where they got? No way! I became a millionaire several years ago and the credit is shared with about a couple dozen significant players. We all need each other to some extent and it is important to recognize this fact early on in a new business. In fact, your initial business plan should include factoring in your network far in advance of opening your doors.
As a Real Estate Mentor, I have noticed that some of our best clients are those who tried to do it all on their own…at first. By the time they come to us, they are pretty bruised up and weary from their “dream” business. It appears that the catalyst to their success was using the many resources around them instead of fighting to drive a square peg through a round hole. Don’t fight it. Networking is essentially the building blocks our economy is made of.
As a Baby Boomer you can make some great acquaintances with other like-minded Boomers who have said “goodbye” to their corporate jobs and are now running their own businesses. Working with other Boomers will likely be easier as there is a growing comradeship among the many Boomers who have made the career shift.
One word of caution; avoid groups where negativity dominates. “Misery loves company” and you don’t have time to dwell on pessimism and other unconstructive behaviors. Look for, not only complementary businesses, but complementary business people who will affirm your entrepreneurship on multiple levels. Always look to create win/win with any of your strategic alliances. You will develop a reputation as one who looks after their partner’s interests and will have plenty of new business as a result. If misery loves company then positive thinking people primarily seek out other positive folks…and that’s you!
I have enjoyed networking for many years and I personally developed a reputation for recommending other businesses in my circle. This has gotten my house painted, my cars repaired and a host of other great perks all for free! Personally, I don’t like asking for referral fees. I never have. However, my clients and associates have a green light to show their appreciation anytime they like. I have made a lot of friends by remembering my associates.