The Specific Network of Influential Contacts that startups and Small Businesses Need to Grow
If a wealthy politician’s interests preclude investing in startups and small businesses, founders will derive little or no value from having such politicians as contacts. Same applies, if the startup’s business model excludes areas the politician can exert his influence like government contracts.
The right contact is interested in your industry and has a thing or so to gain from your knowledge and the expertise, or whatever it is you bring to the table. They can influence their followers to act in your favour when such actions benefit your business.
To remain profitable, grow, and make impact, startups and small businesses need a different kind of influencer at every stage; An influencer can do many things for a business owner.
- Source of Inspiration: The companies we keep exert influence on us in more ways than we can imagine. A company of successful entrepreneurs will serve as a source of inspiration to keep the budding entrepreneur going until they become successful in their new ventures. It’s customary for thriving entrepreneurs to bandy ideas about in their circles. They share solutions of problems among themselves, and display other successful habits that’ll rub off on you when you keep their company. They’ll inspire you to do and be more, giving you a little push to urge you on during your most daunting moments. No one is better than Someone who’s been through the entrepreneurial journey and came out on top of it to guide us through the journey with ease.
- Raising Capital: Having a working or professional relationship with potential investors will make them more willing and open to invest in your startup. A contact who’s not an investor but can introduce you to an investor in his list of contacts is also invaluable. Either way, they’re can help you as you try to raise funding.
- Leads and Referrals: Word of mouth marketing helps most businesses land clients and generate volumes of sales. More so when such referral is done by an influencer with a large following on social media and in the physical world.
- Credibility: People will do business with you if they know and trust you. Most customers have received bruises from relationships, including professional ones, and so, their paranoia. They ‘re ever on the lookout for telltale signs that someone is out to rip them off, even if it cost them their peace of mind alone. Your link with an influencer, especially one that endorses you and your business will earn you the kind of reputation that the followers and friends of the influencer associate with them. Your association with them earns you more credibility; that translates into more business for you.
- Mentoring: Most successful entrepreneurs agree to requests from starters for mentoring. It feels good to them anyway, that someone is available to piggyback on their successes. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. All they ask of an intending mentee is their commitment to the mentoring process.
Businesses need the knowledge and experience of their owners to grow.
Learning from a successful entrepreneur hands down to you within a short time the many years of someone else’s knowledge and experience.
Cutting down, by far, the time taken to acquire such knowledge and experience on your own, and also reducing your present and future mistakes to the least.
Ideas are vital to businesses of all sizes and at all stages. So is the process of generating, validating and implementing them. The right mentor went through these processes and is willing, given your commitment, to take you through them.
Oftentimes, and especially during networking event we realize that some thriving business owners can serve us in other capacities aside from being our mentors. There’s still so much we can learn from them to apply to our own businesses. First, ask, then, be a good listener, and add ideas from them to your knowledge base, in incremental bits.
One of the many excuses people give for not having enough money is that they don’t know or have any links to a wealthy or influential person.
What they’re often alluding to is that the benefits that accrue from such links are solely financial. They couldn't be more wrong. And there, that idea of seeing the benefits of contacts in how much money they can extract from them, is where the roots of their predicament lies. There’s more to gain from a successful person than their money; the foregoing is enough proof to that effect.
Originally published at influence.com.ng on August 26, 2017.