What strategies do you have in place to make sure that you are building strong business alliances?
Every smart leader knows that alliances are critical to building a profitable, successful, sustainable, meaningful business or organization.
It's critical because HYPE IS EVERYWHERE!
Especially when you are a small business owner looking for answers to increase, well, just about anything.
For every aspect of building a business, whether online or brick and mortar, there are 1001 aspects that have to be considered. The blessing and the curse is that there are at least 101 different systems and solutions for each of those aspects. We want the right product, for the right price, that functions on the right platform and brings in the most (insert need here.)
Every good marketer knows the basic formula for attracting us with their shiny object: identify the problem, agitate the problem, offer the (their) solution.
We browse around the web, and voila'. We are suddenly being followed by ABC Company and XYZ Brand - thank you advertising pixels. Again, the blessing and the curse.
We subscribe to newsletters to get the free report, and pray we aren't spammed to death.
The challenge becomes separating the junk from the good stuff. We only have "x" amount of dollars to spend, and if we waste it on a bad program, promotion, or concept, that leaves just that much less to put toward the really good stuff. And hopefully, if you do get a junk system, there is at least a decent money-back guarantee.
Marketing metrics abound. Copy is king, but only if you know the avatar of your ideal client in order to define your key audience, key platform, key words and key phrases.
Somehow, now instead of spending time doing the things you love that made you begin the business, you're spending all of your time tweaking the marketing language, split-testing the ads, and hoping that your tweet doesn't get drowned in the twitter feed, and that your Facebook page shows up in the newsfeed - if the new algorithms don't hide your newest posts. Maybe Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube will offer up better results. Oh, and then there is always the 'next big thing' we're supposed to investigate.
We resort to auto-posting platforms, but then how often do we post? A lot? A few times? What are the peak hours for the tweet to be seen? And for those of us in the people business, we feel like we've lost the 'touch' factor which sets apart from the rest of the pack. Now, we feel like one of the wolves, instead of one of the solution saviors. What about the right colors and fonts? Maybe if I shift that icon over there or use that posting method I can gain 1 or 2 more new shares per day.
So, for those who follow my blog, you may wonder what this has to do with women and leadership and faith. Or, you may be wondering what makes me any different than the next person working to sell a product, service or idea. And, those are fair questions. The truth is, when it comes to finding a better way to reach YOU...yes YOU, the person reading this right now, I'm continually looking for a better way to get the message across, in a way that isn't slimy and sales-y. I'm constantly searching for the words that communicate my heart to you, so that you might...just MIGHT decide to look a little bit further than the next word.
So, this morning when I woke up, I thought about what it is that colors my decision whether or not to work with a company or person. I think they are pretty simple guidelines. When I don't follow them, I'm usually disappointed. Maybe they are yours, or will help you define your own set of standards.
So, here they are, the 5 Strategies to Make Sure You Work with the Right People - ala The David Letterman Show.
Half the people you work with have to be your own decision making style, or you'll kill someone.
Within the world of decision makers, outside of individual processes and ideologies, there are 2 types of people: those who make quick decisions, and those who don't.
For people like me who are quick to pull the trigger on a shiny new object, it can be frustrating to wait for someone else to make a purchasing decision. For those who are more methodical in the purchase-making process, it can be scary as heck to work with "Quick-Draw McGraw".
It is important to have people around who think differently, but if everyone does, you will go mad!
They must "speak your language" so you don't spend all your time in meaningless arguments.
If you've ever worked with someone who SEEMS to understand what you are saying, but then totally misinterprets the meaning, you know the importance of this strategy.
Many times this comes down to a cultural difference.
Now, I'm all about diversity and working with people who bring a fresh perspective and point of view. Yet, a point of reference that is beyond anything you can conceive just won't work.
It reminds me of that time when I drank a big drink of unsweetened iced tea and thought I was going to have a nice, tall drink of soda. YUCK! An absolute shock to my system! Or, that time you ate something that was supposed to be chocolate and wasn't. Or, how about this. The time my husband thought he was having chicken fried steak and it turned out to be liver!
Oil and vinegar are great on a salad. Not so much oil and water.
Have people around who will tell you NO!
I would love to get my way every time. You would, too. Until you look back on the past and realize there are a few times it was the best thing that you didn't.
We need people in our life and in our work who aren't afraid to tell us no. Along with all of those people who make decisions like you do, have your perspective and speak your language - you absolutely MUST have people who will tell you - in no uncertain terms - "NO! That's a bad idea!"
You may not like it. And you may end up ignoring their advice. But, we must have a dissenting voice from time to time in order to shake us out of our "I'm the Boss of Me Napoleanism."
Leaders don't like to be told no. You know it's the truth! But we need those who care enough about us to jerk us out of the path of the train.
Work with people who can teach you how to give more away than you ever thought possible.
It's no secret that I think Bluewire Media, Inc. is a great example of this. AND, I've discovered a few others in the last months. Noah Kagan and Shane Melaugh, over at Thrive Themes and Hybrid Connect. By the way, these guys don't pay me a penny. I'm not an affiliate for their programs.
They are making me better every day. They pour out so much value that it makes me want to do better every time I work on a products, book, or service. They make me think, "How can I give more?"
You need people like this, too. When you work with quality companies it should make you want to be better. And hopefully, it works it's way forward to all of the people you serve.
Work with a lot of people who have your same core beliefs, but don't lock the door on people who don't.
I've worked with a LOT of different people - with a lot of different backgrounds - and a lot of different perspectives on faith and belief. Most of the people I know have a spiritual take on things. That being said, they haven't all had the same Christian beliefs that I do. I've learned a lot from them. I've grown to be a better person in a lot of those instances.
However, when push came to shove, when it came to a difference between their spiritual ideas and my Christian point-of-view, there was always a breakdown. Sometimes I've been accused of having a narrow perspective. It was odd to me that I was narrow, but they wouldn't consider that I might be right.
The very best long term working relationships that I have are with people who speak "Christianese"; that odd language that Christians speak when they are together. It may be that people of other faiths speak the same way, but just not to me.
It's super important to me that you understand that I'm not saying you should only work with Christians (or Muslims, or Jews or whatever religion or non-religion you may be.) What I am saying, is that it is easier to have a core group of people around you who make their decisions - whether yes or no - from a similar belief-based background as you.
So there you go, my 5 Strategies for the Best Business Alliances.
Do you have some strategies that have served you well? I'd love to hear about them. Share them in the comments below.
Oh, and if you thought this was a good article, help a girl out and share with your social circles.