So someone said to me last week, “No one cares about your business until you care”
So the phrase above means to me: “how do you expect me to care about your business if you don’t care about my business?”
I receive many requests from people asking for things that will help their business. I will gladly consider this because I remember that struggle very clearly. For every person that has helped me during my struggle, I did focus on giving back and helping them. That is the right thing to do.
But nothing frustrates me more than when someone asks for help, and they don’t know anything about my business or they don’t ask how they can help my business.
Here is my rule for helping other business owners asking for help: If they don’t know anything about my business and offer ways to help my business, then I can’t help their business.
Don’t misinterpret this. It is rewarding to help others even if they cant give back. But there is a difference between TIME OF NEED and BEING STINGY. So I am selective in the charity work I offer others.
So here are some tips to consider when asking others to help your business.
– Research their company!! Learn who their customer is, and come to the table with ways you might be able to help them.
– Identify immediately a common thread to work with to develop a collaborative relationship. Then offer to HELP THEM FIRST, and ask them to consider helping you in exchange.
– If someone asks for you to help their business, then clearly express how they can help you in exchange for the purpose of developing an ongoing working relationship. If you don’t ask, then you may not get it.
– If they offer nothing or can’t commit to helping your business, then you must consider if you want to invest your valuable time building their business versus yours and how that will impact your business. If you don’t want to make that kind of investment that does not help your business, then it is okay to graciously say “NO”.
– Invest your time into the person that appreciates collaborative networking. They are out there and they will help your business! If you’re going to do business or support a business, do it with someone that is supporting yours.
If someone helps your business, then you SHOULD be working on giving back. That means, if it is not immediate, put it on your task list.
So what does giving back mean?
– Consider using the products or services they offer.
– Give a referral that actually produces business for them.
– Is there any resources their business needs that you can give them?
– Commit to getting them a referral at the next networking event (virtual or in-person)
– Give them a discount or gift them your products or services.
– Allow them to tap into your resources.
– Support and share their endeavors. You can start by sharing their social media posts.
– Leave a positive review for their business.
– Give a “Thank You” gift and say “THANK YOU”
Just an FYI: It is not good business to only contact people when you need something.
Susan Miller – The Serial Entrepreneur
Business Development Consultant, Speaker, Small Business Advocate