Stonehouse on Business
by Rae Stonehouse
I found myself quoting John Jantsch once again, “If you aren't networking, you aren't working!”
My friend's questions were those that nearly all business people find themselves asking.
“Who do you know that …”
“I’m looking for somebody to …”
“I wish I had a source for …”
Far too often we are left scratching our heads, accessing our deep memories and inevitably … drawing a blank.
“Whether we enjoy the strategy or not, networking to promote our businesses is a necessity,” I explained, “It isn’t something that you do before work or after work … it is work! I can’t find anyone famous who has said that, so perhaps I will take credit for it.”
There was a hint of a smile. She'll come around.
My friend's experience and qualifications were without question until she launched her own business. The fact is that being in business for herself now hasn't changed who she is, it has just changed how she must present herself. That can be a whole new world; a whole new learning curve. It takes time to get it, and become comfortable doing it. In Sales the catchphrase used to be, ABC, Always Be Closing, but I believe it should be 'Always Be Connecting'.
“I have hundreds of connections on LinkedIn,” she said, “And a thousand Facebook friends.”
I nodded, “Social media has taken networking with large numbers of fellow business professionals, way beyond our geographical reach, and our personal friends and colleagues. Lots of connections, yes … but are we really connected? Do we actually know that much about our thousands of connections? Do they really know what makes us tick? I’m going to go out on a limb and say ‘No!’”
A Connector, simply defined, is an uber-networker. It used to be said ‘It’s not who you know that counts … it’s who knows you.” It’s still true, however now-a-days “It’s not who you know that counts … It’s who knows that you know” that is likely more apt. A Connector is the person you go to answer the questions that prefaced this article. They know the people that know the answers. They know the people that can solve problems. And they can and will connect you to those problem solvers. They can and they do.
“You don’t need a huge amount of connections to start being a Connector yourself,” I said, “We all know somebody who is good at doing something and we all likely know somebody who has a problem that needs solving. Personal and business problems likely come up in conversation every day. Sometimes, it can be hidden in their complaints. 'I wish …'”
As a Connector, we are match-makers. We aren’t connecting potential mates for future matrimonial bliss, but then again … you never know! Connecting, is bringing two or more people together, that wouldn’t likely have met otherwise, for potentially mutually beneficial gains. Mr. Google hasn’t grabbed onto that description yet.
“A fellow iNetwork Kelowna member Ryan Morice,” I told her, “Is a good example of a Connector. Morice is promoting the Seven Summits Challenge. His goal is to go down in history by climbing Mount Everest (29,135 feet) without using supplementary oxygen. Not only that, he plans to climb the seven highest summits in each of the seven comments and to toss in some Iron Man marathons just for fun. Certainly, a lofty goal if there ever was one. I get winded just listening to him sharing his goal.”
Morice is a fixture at Okanagan business networking events. Expeditions to far off exotic locations are expensive. He’s also learned that he can’t do it alone. Business sponsors play a large role in Morice’s funding strategy. He has successfully aligned himself with Sponsors that not only believe in his audacious goal but want to share in his journey. Every sponsor adds a necessary piece to the Seven Summits Challenge Team, whether it be products, services or financial support.
So what do the Sponsors get in return? Morice promotes them every chance he gets. He connects business professionals with businesses that are looking to solve a problem.
“Well, I can't climb Mount Everest,” my friend admitted, “But I can do that.”
“If Morice can do it, we all can do it! Connect that is. Morice is definitely better at climbing Mount Everest.”
Take a quick look at your personal network of business colleagues. Take stock of what each of them has to offer. Make sure they in turn, know what you have to offer. Invite them out for coffee or lunch. It’s probably easier than you think.
Onwards & upwards!