Years ago, there were six degrees of separation between you and anyone else on the planet. Then came the social web and suddenly, there was just one pixel of separation between you and anyone with an Internet connection.
So, given this unparalleled business opportunity to connect with almost anyone, what are you doing with it?
Selfish demands from strangers
Very few small business owners seem to understand how to benefit from this opportunity.
They just don’t get it. They simply see a way to connect with someone via email or a social network who they think can help them, and ask that stranger for help. Rather than think ahead of the people it would be useful for them to know and invest the time required to connect with these useful people in advance, they just pester them with a direct demand for a selfish favour.
For instance, today alone, around half a dozen people who have never connected with me before, will email me and ask if I will let them write a guest post on this blog. Another dozen or so people who have never previously connected with me, will ask me via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or email if I will ‘check out their site and tell them what they are doing wrong.’ Then around 50 PR companies will email me a press release, even though they have no relationship with me and I have never published a press release.
None of us are self made people
The idea of the self made person is a myth. None of us can do it by ourselves. We all need the help and support of others, in order to achieve anything of value. The least effective way to garner that help or support, is to pester people we don’t know and demand it.
Business is all about people and people value relationships. This means relationship building should be an essential, ongoing process in your business.
Take some time out to identify the people, who you would like to know and then invest the time required to get to know them. You don’t need a complicated strategy for this any more than you need one for making new friends. It’s about people. Just keep it human and be prepared to give before you receive. Instigate the relationship with a hello, not a demand. Seek to help, before you ask for help. You wouldn’t make a new friend and straight away start demanding they do things for you – the same is true in business.
In short: Business is all about people and people respond very poorly to selfish demands from strangers. Make relationship building an ongoing priority, by investing the time required to get to know the people, who you can help and those who may be able to help you. Get this right and the potential is endless!