Extracting Value From Your Existing Business Networks

It very much used to be, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” Unfortunately your business contacts will only get you so far, unless you really know how to extract value out of your existing business networks and relationships.

This rarely happens due to a lack of education in the area of specialised networking. As business owners, we generally focus on how to develop a marketing campaign, sales processes and how to write business plans (even though few businesses seem to be operating with any of these anyway).

But when do I ask, is the time taken to develop a clear cut business networking strategy? Next to never!

Considering it is one of the most cost effective strategies to attract new clientele and reduce your client acquisition costs, why is such an important aspect being over looked by 1000′s of small to medium enterprises and companies?

Purely because of the huge gap in understanding the processes involved in extracting such value from ones networks. It is not as simple as exchanging a few pleasantries and business cards at networking events. That makes up 1 %. It is about the processes and strategies that are implemented following that initial meeting that makes the difference.

With the price of marketing our businesses ever increasing and the return on investment ever decreasing, businesses must shift their focus rapidly to succeed in such a competitive business environment.

So how do you extract value out of your pre existing networks?

There is an entire tool kit of strategies and alliances you can establish with another business owner that will see you both win at the end of the day and have your customers jumping for joy.

They may include:

- Host Beneficiaries
- Cross Promotional Strategies
- Affiliate Programs
- Referral Strategies

I have seen many businesses generate millions in revenue by hugely effective and what some would say, overly simple referral strategies. The funny thing is, the simpler the better when it comes to business alliances and networks!

It is sometimes the simplest of strategies that provide the most value to you, your business, your colleagues business and your customers.

Do not overlook what is sitting right in front of you with your existing networks. We are in such a well connected society, so connected in fact that in most business networking circles you are only ever 1 degree of separation away from your ideal client.

The above strategies are simply just processes utilised to extract those clients and direct them to your business. They are channels, even pathways to your door, website or phone but they do not work unless you build them and maintain them with care.

All of these strategies have one common denominator, they are all about who you know, who your colleagues know and who your clients know. The real benefit comes however when you utilise different styles of alliances to obtain and extract value from your network, as they will from you.

At the end of the day, what’s another name in your phone going to do to help you grow your business unless you dial the number and put the wheels in motion?

The Importance of Followup in a Home Based Business

As someone who’s been involved a number of years full time in a home business
I’ve heard it said over and over again the expression “The fortune is in the followup!”

While not disbelieving this statement it always seemed like another one of those stupid cliches
Used by your network marketing upline to motivate their people when nothing else was working
(Mainly because they were in a deal who’s opportunity had come and gone). Yes Virginia just like stocks and investments the opportunity to make real money in a home based business opportunity has a window that opens and closes (usually for good in terms of making financial freedom type money). However, for the learned there are plenty of opportunities to do extremely well. However, that’s the topic for another discussion.

Followup in a home based business or any business for that matter is physiological as much as anything else.

Consistent followup accomplishes several important things.

First every follow-up re-enforces in your prospects mind the validity of your product and/or business. Remember virtually all prospects are skeptical the first time they hear about a product. With each additional exposure a prospect becomes more comfortable with trying your product. Especially when the product is presented in a neutral or favorable light. Depending upon the type of marketing many experts claim a person must be exposed at least 5 times to a product before they will purchase. The least personal the exposure the more exposures required.

Second – virtually everyone and everything is in a constant state of change over time Each new followup puts your message in a front of a potentially new set of circumstances with your prospect. What wasn’t important 30 or 60 days ago could today become forefront in your prospects mind overnight.

Last, but not least is the physiological aspect of follow-up. Each time you followup with a prospect in a home based business you’re in effect telling them your product really works.

Reason being most people are skeptical anyway and subconsciously think if they never hear from you again after your initial contact that your product wasn’t very good. On the other had the opposite is true – each time they hear back from you they subconsciously think. “Gee there must really be something to your
product or he/she wouldn’t keep contacting me.”

Now let me say one last thing about following up with your prospects and being persistent.

There is being persistent and there is being a pest. You can be persistent without being a pest. You never want to be a pest. Here is how you can be persistent without appearing to be a pest.

When following up with someone – never just email or say to them, “I was just checking with you to see if you’ve had a chance to go over the information I sent you previously.” This is being a bore and a pest.

Whenever you followup with someone always have some new piece of information to present to them about your product, etc. You want to be like a poker player, always keep a trump card to play. Never expose everything you have at first – with your first contact. Always keep several pieces of information about your product or business for exposure later. Of course you’re in the cat bird’s seat if you’re fortunate enough to be marketing a product or service that’s hot and consistently in the news. Conversely it’s a little tougher to come up with new information when you’re marketing a non-news making product.

Involving Your Family in Your Business Plan

A lot of people dream of running their own businesses because they think that it is the only way to become truly wealthy. Well, for some people, this is true. If you take a good look at the extremely wealthy members of society, chances are most of them got to where they are now by owning a business. Some of them started their own business from the ground up, while others ran the businesses they were given. In many other cases, they saw an opportunity to introduce a new service or product to the market and jumped at the chance quickly. Some have succeeded and made millions, even billions. The most notable of these names are Henry Ford, Debbie Fields, Donald Trump and Bill Gates.

A lot of business books suggest that owning a business is one great strategy towards becoming wealthy. In fact, many millionaires are still working and the majority of them are self-employed. However, the reality is this: not everyone who starts a business becomes wealthy. In fact, only a fifth of all new businesses are still up and running by their fifth year. A business fails and the owner usually has to cut his losses. The average business owner makes somewhere around $25,000 to $40,000 a year in salary. It may not sound bad to some people, but just keep in mind the number of hours they had to work to make that money. Also, it is important that you look at the amount of money you need to invest in order to start your business and keep it running for at least a year. It is not unheard of for a business owner to work for a significant length of time without even taking in a salary. Sometimes you’ll reach a point where you still cannot afford to pay yourself a reasonable wage. At these times it is important to decide whether this particular business is still right for you. Sometimes, you might have a good business sense but your enthusiasm may just be pointed in the wrong direction. Shifting your focus and energies to a new business may just be the key that opens the door to your financial success.

They say that success is sweeter when it is shared. Most successful businesses thrive because the owners have the full support of their family and friends behind them. If you are a person who cannot leave family for overtime work without having feelings of guilt, than it is important for you to examine the needs of your family as well as your business intentions before you start a new venture. Without your family’s support, it will be difficult for you to succeed. When starting a new business, you’ll just have to expect working late nights, working on the weekends and even being on your own during the holidays. You may even have to travel a lot. During these times, you might have to choose between your business commitment and being there for your family. Your family needs to accept your business commitments without being unreasonably angry or hurt.

It is always a good idea to communicate about your business openly with your parents, children, spouse and friends. Let them know what you want to do and what kind of energy and time commitment it will take from you and from everybody else. Give them enough time to prepare themselves for some of the sacrifices that all of you may have to make in order to see the business take off. Get their agreement and their commitment before moving forward to the next steps. If you sense that your family or friends will resent the attention you will give your business, think about ways that will involve them in the company. You may not need to choose between business and family. Talk with them about what you can all do together to run this business successfully. You may even put your children on the payroll as a tax strategy. Making your spouse an employee may also enable you to pay for the family’s health insurance. In the end, involving your family may prove to be a sound business decision.