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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM NOVEMBER 2009
The little guy is only as big as the folks they network with; making no limit as to how big the little guy can become.
Let that sink in. Read it again.
“The little guy is only as big as the folks they network with; making no limit as to how big the little guy can become.”
Many recognizable businesses, artists, and personal dynasties got where they are today by whom they know and how they utilized resources around them. These people and businesses knew who to surround themselves with. Steve Jobs continuously credits those around him for much of the success of Apple. Sam Walton took a very small store and built a dynasty.
It’s certain many of you are enthralled by the stage that U2 is currently touring with. That’s a stage and sound rig that grew from a 30-year relationship between Joe O’Herlihy and U2. That stage was a design concept, an idea, was thought up during the Joshua Tree tour. That album was released on March 9, 1987. It took 22 years to see that monster spaceship take form. 26 years ago U2 made history playing in freezing rain at Red Rocks. O’Herlihy was there for that.
Any “big thing” started by being a little thing. Every big name started by being just a name. Sure, someone with limitless financial resources can throw countless dollars into marketing to become “seen.” But, that product being marketed is still nothing until it is felt. How we interact with people is how we are felt. In just a couple of interactions, the people you network with can get a feel for you, as well as you get a feel for them. By keeping them in mind, you are keeping yourself in their minds. Help them to help you.
You have your company operating in your market. That’s all the bigger it really needs to be. But are you the biggest thing sought after? How “hot” are you? Water isn’t hot until it has outside energy introduced to it. Networking is the outside energy that can be applied to you. Adding one new person to your networking loop can make a huge difference in how you feel about your business overnight. Having one person say one thing new about you can revitalize you for months. But, you have to go out and get them.
In the last issue, I spoke of many of the opportunities that attend a bridal show/fair. The other event professionals at the bridal show are some of the basic folks you should be connected with. Expand your circles a bit more. Get to know your local Young Professionals group as well as booth Young Republicans and Young Democrats. Get your name out to the other small businesses in your area. There are countless entrepreneurs just around the corner. You’ll be surprised to know they are in the same boat as you!
Many DJs have cute ways of stating the same thing. I’ve heard “netWEAVE-ing,” “REALationships,” and a slew of other word pictures in recent times. The words are only valuable until you do it. I broke out of my little circle a couple of weeks ago, by setting a booth up at the local ZONTA expo. In case you are not aware of who ZONTA is, they are a group of Professional Executive Women. I had nothing to market directly to any of the attendees. I knew that going in. What I came out with was a big stack name of ladies willing to spread my name in and around their circles. The other booths were aggressively networked. In fact, I took pictures of almost everyone’s booth, and handed those in the booths a card that stated three things: Name of my company, a Facebook logo, and a copy of the “Become a Fan” button. I told the folks in their booths to look me up, become a fan, and label their pictures. I didn’t go to market directly, I went to expand my circle of connections with everyone else’s circle of connections. I’ve even offered my cargo trailer to a gal I met at the expo to help her move. She chats to her customers and mentions me and the offer I extended her.
For some strange reason, networking is being touted as direct reciprocity – you do for me/ I do for you. That is sad that DJs see networking that shallowly when all you need to do is talk favorably about those people.
Remember, you are only as big as the people that know who you are and talk about you.
Ken Petersen can be reached at email@example.com.