As our business landscape has changed from a manufacturing base to a knowledge base, this quote is ever-more accurate. Even if you build hard assets, your success in business will depend on how well you build your network of buyers, referrers and fans.
This is not an easy concept for some. We think we sell widgets and we need widget users to buy them. Why would I need to go beyond that model? Well, the answer is because your competition is networking your customers right out from under you!
Building relationships with a broad base of people will expand your user base, develop loyalty and generate referrals. You must have clear and active strategies for this process. And most business owners never take the time to develop strategies of any kind, let alone clear and active ones.
This goes to the heart of the role of the business owner – creating a Dream, Designing a Plan, Training and Leading a Team to execute the strategy.
So take some time to consider your network strategy – focus on your database of users and contacts. Social media is a powerful tool but so is old-fashioned mail, email and phone calls. Sponsor events, connect your existing customers so they can build their networks, as well. Create strategic alliances with businesses with the same target market as you. The more connections you link to your hub, the more people will see you as a valuable part of their network – and they will reward you by remaining customers for the long haul.