FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH
|“You’ve Got A Friend”||
|By: Ron Brounes||
The other day I began updating my business database, that listing of lucky souls who regularly receive this newsletter and other timely correspondences. Now I realize that a great many of these recipients immediately look for the circular file without so much as skimming the crucial business advice de jour. (I know who you are…then again, you aren’t even reading this to know I’m talking to you.) Still, with several hundred unsuspecting folks currently receiving these unsolicited mailings, I am certain that one or two of you actually read them (thanks Mom). Furthermore, I am confident that they have been responsible for generating a little business over the course of the year. (Please don’t burst my bubble.)
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, BUT WHO YOU KNOW
At business school, we were drilled over and over again about the importance of “networking.” In actual practice, I can attest that it really does work. The process should not be restricted to prominent business people and other high ranking officials, but should instead include everyone: family members, friends, friends of friends, business associates, teachers/professors, old classmates. The familiar concept of “Six Degrees of Separation” implies that everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who may be in need of our services. The key is to find those people by any means possible. Only by simple networking can we learn the identity of these potential clients.
In addition to stuffing your mailboxes monthly with this source of business insight and words of wisdom, I have “lunched” (and “breakfasted”) with countless people in attempting to define my business and inquire about potential leads. Now these “get-togethers” are NOT designed to hound my family and friends for work, but rather to establish some dialogue with those who may be able to assist me in getting out my message and put me in touch with future contacts. In other words, simple “networking.” Often times, business may come from rather strange sources. Through this process, I’ve been reacquainted with old college chums who I hadn’t spoken to in a decade, as well as with old work buddies who I had totally lost touch with.
Always remember, however, there can be a fine line between being persistent and becoming a pain in the you know what. Don’t ever get so consumed with the business implications of networking that you begin to alienate (bother) your family and friends. Clients come and go, but a good friend should last a lifetime (or at least until you close that next big deal).
KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, BUT YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER
Competition exists in virtually every business (except maybe Microsoft). Monitoring your competitors’ current situations can be imperative to your future successes. Read any and all articles about these companies and keep your eyes and ears open for words of their accomplishments and failures. Don’t become sneaky or unethical; just stay informed.
Remember, friendly competition should always be healthy; it provides incentive for each of us to improve on the status quo. Additionally, these people should not be looked upon as the enemy, but rather as colleagues. You never know when your current competition may one day be seated in the office next to yours. Visit with them at industry trade shows and compare notes (to an extent) about projects, past and present. Occasionally, business may be generated through such sources should one company maintain a specific expertise in an area that a competitor cannot provide.
Try not to ever burn bridges in the business world. Even though you may be leaving one job for another, those relationships already established can be quite helpful in providing future projects down the road. In my case, a fair amount of my existing work has been generated from prior business associates.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
The past 12 months since I started this company have just flown by. In fact, it sometimes seems more like 12 minutes (under water). During this time, I have had the opportunity to author a great many speeches of many shapes and sizes for both business execs and politicos. I have written and placed articles for clients in the local and business press and in various trade magazines, and composed text for their technical newsletters, annual reports, and web sites. I have assisted with projects on behalf of various financial services companies (banking, mortgage banking, investments, financial planning, insurance, etc.) as well as for many other industries (health care, employment/placement, retail, law, advertising, education, etc.) On the political front, I have produced “issues books,” position papers for officials and candidates, and campaign speeches, and have assisted in lobbying efforts for several organizations.
In the spirit of the Academy Awards, I’d like to thank all my family, friends, clients, and prospects, for their help and encouragement during this time. I truly hope you have all enjoyed these mailings and been satisfied with any work performed. Referrals and word of mouth advertising can be far more effective than any other form of promotion. As we move into year two, I hope you will continue to pass along names of potential clients or anyone else who may be interested in receiving these newsletters. Don’t worry, I won’t let them know where I got their names.
q Annual Reports
q Business Plans/Presentations
q Presentation Training
q Marketing pieces
q Op/ed. articles
q Position Papers
q Policy Manuals
q Financial Analysis
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH is a publication of Brounes & Associates focusing on business marketing and general communications strategies. Please call Ron Brounes at 713-432-1910 for additional information. If you have any business ideas or suggestions for future newsletter topics, I’m always interested. Let’s grab lunch sometimes. (Please realize, I’m just being persistent; be sure to let me know if I become a pain in the….)