Investing in Relationships

Having spent extensive time networking, attending seminars and conferences, and building a network, I have learned firsthand, the value of network building.

Before I got into networking and building relationships, I prided myself on my self-sufficiency. No matter what the issue, I felt I could pick up some books, look up how-to type guides on Google, and in short order, I can capably execute.

Despite my cocky attitude about being able to do anything, I also felt the frustration of not being able to learn every skill in the long list of necessary ones to truly get to where I wanted to go in business. Worse, I would get impatient when I got to the point of sufficiency, and skip to the next skill to work on, and this started to feel like a recipe for mediocrity.

When I started taking training in business, marketing, and networking – it became apparent to me I was in energy that Robert Kiyosaki would describe as the “S” quadrant or small business. I had to do everything myself because I would not trust others – and to get ahead I would have to learn to delegate to others.

I had the bad experience of attempting to delegate things to people only to end up with bad outcomes. I was finding and paying people in my small circle of friends and acquaintances who were, as it surprisingly turned out, not particularly competent at the things I needed to get done. And when I reached out to experts via marketplaces online, I had mixed results at best, because I did not have sufficient strategies to find expertise at the level of competence I needed.

What I have since learned is that as I expand my social circle attending seminars and training, I met like-minded people who are extremely good at what they do, and they also personally knew others who are likewise competent. At a certain point, it became more and more evident to me that there is no activity more highly leveraged than networking and meeting and getting to know people at high-end seminars, conferences, and events.

As long as I know people who are capable in every area of any business goal I may have, I can play the role of assembling a team to get things done and assemble a way to compensate them based on extreme levels of performance the team can deliver.

It does not mean building relationships always provide an immediate short-term boost to revenue. It can be a long-term process to build up a network, and there may be dry periods where I have to be prepared to make investments based on faith. Being satisfied knowing that the principle of building relationships will pay off eventually. And when I feel the temptation to cut off the activity of relationship-building until after the dry spell is over, remind myself why that is a bad idea.

There is the horse, and there the cart. The horse is relationship building. Business results are the cart. Putting the horse before the cart is not always easy, but it is necessary. Waiting for the cart to start moving itself before attaching a horse to it, would be as frustrating as it is unfruitful.

Beyond the business benefits of relationship-build, it is immensely satisfying to build meaningful connections with multiple people in every major city in the country. It means being able to travel to multiple cities and being able to look up a friend to have lunch with, and mastermind about business ideas. It means feeling connected and valued among a large number of people.

In having conversations with well-connected people with high competency in their areas of expertise, I found I have increased my ability to know quickly if someone has the necessary level of skill to execute on a project. I simply apply what I learned from networking and training, to ask more intelligent questions, and because I have a realistic sense of what an intelligent answer should look like, I am better able to see the red flags I may otherwise miss.

I also benefit from opportunities to compare notes with others in my industry and related industries and receive mentorship from people who have achieved goals I am still working on, to identify consultants and board of directors and mentors. Not to mention the opportunity to contribute value by helping others with their business challenges, sequencing questions, and even relationship issues. When I help others unconditionally, it seems to create an energetic effect of allowing more help to arrive, and I have seen this work and materialize things I want right before my eyes.

That is why there are many expenses in business I would cut before touching the budget for networking, seminars, trainings, and conferences. Relationships are more fundamental than almost anything else, and investing in them as a primary and fundamental aspect of business is a smart move for any business.

If you want to supercharge your business at the same time making life more meaningful and enjoyable, I highly recommend prioritizing building a network by attending events, conferences, seminars, where like-minded people gather – and invest the necessary time to build deep connections, not just superficial ones.

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