Align yourself with the right people, forge the right relationships, and you’ll set yourself up for the long run.” - Daymond John
You've certainly heard it before ... your relationships have the ability to make or break your business.
But beyond the uniquely high-impact relationships that we can readily identify (like an Oprah endorsement, or a bad business deal with the founder of a Ponzi scheme), to what extent do your relationships really have influence?
The everyday relationships in your personal and professional network have the kind of influence that could be comparable to compound interest in your investment portfolio. You might not notice the small, incremental effect that they have had until you stop to consciously assess their impact on your performance.
If you don’t take stock very often, you may notice only inconsequential evidence for many years, until seemingly out of nowhere, their presence becomes obvious, and you can directly attribute their impact on your current state of affairs. Only then do you realize your good fortune, or alternatively, your misfortune through that association.
The "right fit" relationships will not only help you succeed by being a good match for your offer, they will also support and endorse your most authentic value proposition, and thereby create more credibility for your value in the marketplace. Do you invest time reinforcing and building on the value of your offer by closely matching your clients and your network with the results you wish to deliver?
Instead of hoping that will happen by default, you can build it by design.
1. Your offer is only one part of the trust equation.
The people with whom you play can either reinforce or undermine your stated intentions. People who value what you value, and who appreciate the nuances in how you have designed your offer are more likely to advocate for you because they “get” you and inherently understand why you have designed your Value Proposition the way you have. Find those clients! They are invaluable to you.
2. Work only with those who help your engagements succeed.
Your offer is only as successful as your clients who make it so. These clients, your team and your collaborative partners have a significant impact on the value that your offer ultimately brings to market. If your offer is truly exceptional but the clients you engage with are unable to tap into its value, then the true potential in your offer will never be realized. If your current clients don’t have the ability to leverage your offer and harness its real power, find clients who can. Your best advocates are those who have both the desire and the ability to make your offer shine.
3. Make your network an accurate reflection of your values and your authentic personality.
Sometimes the offer is a perfect solution but the personal relationship is not a good match. If your client relationships are out of alignment with your personal and professional values, your clients are not getting your best work. If they are not getting your best work, they cannot become your strongest advocates. An average engagement will rarely result in a referral at all, let alone a stellar one. The best referrals are enthusiastic endorsements from excited clients … so make sure that you set yourself up to have as many of those as possible!
4. Align yourself with sources of both inspiration and healthy challenges.
When we are growing towards our dreams, we are supported by both confidence and fulfilment. Your most valuable relationships help you by encouraging you to take bigger steps, and by ensuring that your actions are in line with your goals. Our best clients not only value our offer for all that it is, but also support us to grow into an even more inspired version of ourselves. Those people are invaluable to you, just as you are to them. Keep them close!
The people with whom you associate, whether they be clients, teammates, professional or social networks will certainly have influence over your business success in one way or another. I encourage you to spend some time to reflect on the following questions ... take note of where your interest is earned ... and how it is compounding!
List the top 5 people with whom you currently spend the most time. What qualities or traits do they share?
List your 5 most influential relationships at the moment. What is particularly notable about them?
How do these top 10 relationships currently challenge you and help you grow?
Is your growth by default or are you growing by design, towards your dreams?
What awareness or insights do you have following this reflection?
What actions can you take to support and reinforce these key relationships?
And if you're ready to create a truly enduring differentiation strategy for your business, reach out to me, directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To your success, differently!