If you want to grow your business, your network and your influence AND enjoy the process, there is an powerful idea I would like to share with you.
It’s simply this: Be helpful, often
Think of it like this:
- The process of giving and receiving starts with the giving part.
- The process of sowing and reaping, starts with the sowing part.
- The process of cause and effect, starts with the cause part.
By consistently looking for opportunities to help (contribute) to your clients and your prospective clients, you put a series of processes into play, which improves how people feel about you. As business is all about people, improving the way they feel about you has a measurable, positive impact on your business (and your life.)
Helping others is a state of mind. Looking for ways to connect people, share ideas, open opportunities, etc, can become a natural part of your day. It takes surprisingly little time to share an interesting newsletter with your contacts. It takes even less time to share a blog post you think they will find helpful.
Even if you want to help thousands of people every day, you can do it without it eating into too much of your day. Here’s how it works!
Being helpful scales to infinity
Thanks to the technology at our fingertips, being helpful scales. In fact, it scales beautifully. Using what I call the one-to-many approach, you can help dozens, hundreds or thousands of people every day.
It works like this: You invest one piece of your time, which helps many people.
An obvious example of the one-to-many approach, is blogging. The reason I write for you on Jim’s Marketing Blog and via the email version of the site, is that it allows me to be helpful to many people, using just one block of my writing time. In the time it would take me to reply to one specific email for marketing help, I can be of service to many people.
The helpful mindset
It’s also easy to be helpful every day, using a one-to-one approach. When you adopt the mindset that looks for ways to be helpful, it’s just a natural part of your routine. For instance, just before I wrote this, I introduced 2 people I know to one another. I also shared a link on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to 2 marketing sites that had useful posts on them. It took minutes.
Now, sometimes you will help someone and they will ignore it. They won’t even say thanks. That’s all about them, not you. You cannot allow people with no class, to stop you from shining. You can’t allow the ignorant minority to knock you off route. You need to understand that some people are just like that, then when it happens, accept it and move on. You can’t use the mindset of that thankless minority as an excuse not to lead the way, through contribution.
Firstly, running a business from a mindset of contribution is a lot more fun and a lot less stress. It’s also an extremely rewarding way to grow a business. You see, I discovered that the more people I help, the more people want to help me. As I said earlier, business is all about people and people generally find themselves attracted to those who help and encourage them – whilst they stay away from those who pester them.
I get client inquiries all the time, from people I have helped with the marketing ideas I share here. They already know me, they know my work and they know they can trust me.
As with anything in life, balance is required. You have to help yourself too. There is a world of difference between being helpful and being a doormat. If you think you are helping people by doing lots of unpaid work for them, you are not. You are being taken advantage of.
When people email me and ask me to help with a complex marketing problem, I won’t do it. Why? Because for me to do the research required, put some ideas together and then get them written up and sent to them, would take hours. I could invest that same time, helping thousands of people using my one-to-many approach. It’s also a selfish request, which shows no respect for me or the value of my time. Plus, if I replied to the 50 or so free help requests I get each day, I would have to close the blog, fire my clients and explain to my son that he wouldn’t see me much any more!
The key is to create the balance that works for you.
Make being helpful a natural part of your workflow. This means being prepared to give before you receive and accepting that some people will not even say thanks. Help as many people as you can via the one-to-many approach, as this scales to infinity without cutting into much of your working day. Write useful content for your blog or newsletter, not clever content. Post something useful to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+. People value how helpful you are. They value it enormously.
Then do it again!
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