You are bound to develop a professional network as an entrepreneur.
These relationships are very, very valuable, mostly because you have access to their insights and expertise.
You also will find a helping hand when you’re in need or a way to grow your business through their help.
The problem is that not many people really tap into their professional network to its full extent.
Personally – I believe it’s because you fear the risk of alienating those individuals if you come across as too demanding or needy.
Here is what I’d recommend for getting more from that network:
1. Joint Venture Product Development & Launch
- Opportunity #1: Seek the aid of your professional network when developing a product. See if they are willing to contribute to the product. This will make the development far easier and it will allow you to advertise the product using their brand. The use of their brand and association could greatly increase the positive reception the market has for your product.
- Opportunity #2: Find a professional close to your niche and industry and work together during a new product launch (yours or theirs). Being in during the initial launch will greatly improve your chances of earning an affiliate commission since it’ll be your (or their) links out there from the start. It’ll also build a great bond for the next time there is a launch.
- Opportunity #3: Team with a group of those within your network to create an information product (like you’re seeing a lot, now). Bundling products make for a very lucrative deal for would-be buyers and the combined effort of authorities contributing will surely help build the right buzz and momentum for the bundle promotion.
2. Content Contribution & Social Marketing
- Bonus #1: Contributions from community members is always welcome but it probably won’t match the authority of that provided by professionals in your industry. Reach out to your network for interviews, guest posting, and other content contributions to your website to fill in the gaps where you left off and to create a well-rounded, industry respected site.
- Bonus #2: Whenever you’re working with your group always be sure to help promote one another even if it’s not always reciprocated. In fact, try to curate what’s being shared to avoid oversaturating the social feeds. Play off one another’s’ posts via complimentary content.
- Bonus #3: On the note of complimentary content – create something that challenges the other individual. Create content that expands on their topic. Create content that that works in tandem to push an idea forward in the industry (doing so will create a new shift and the ones involved will be at the forefront).
3. Feedback Loop & Mentorship
- Item #1: Inquire your network on ways to improve your business. Ask their feedback as to what they would do for its growth, customer service, advertising, promotion, and all other aspects. Collect all those ideas and pieces of feedback to find a common denominator and begin implementing those changes for the best.
- Item #2: Seek one (or two) of the professionals for the purpose of mentorship. Follow their guidance in the development of your business. Use their examples and success as motivation in your work. Emulate and play the part until you’re at the level you feel you can go on your own.
- Item #3: Tap into their network of professionals for an extended reach on feedback and/or mentorship. Surely they have a network of their own. There may be someone they know that has the connections you need. This complete outside group of individuals will have a fresh set of eyes on what you do which is very valuable for feedback because it’s not swayed by personal relationships which can get in the way of telling the hard truth.
4. Exit Strategy
- Option #1: Contact your most trusted professional and ask if they are in the market to purchase a website – yours, of course – and that you could cut them an offer and help with the transition (such as continuing to publish content for a few months).
- Option #2: See if there is an opening for one of the businesses within the network. Surely at least one of your connections have seen good success from their work. Hopping on board at the right time could propel you to the next level within the industry which may not have been possible on your own.
- Option #3: If you have a group of professionals you could always hand it over to the collective and allow them to all use it for their projects. You may want to remove the personal branding, of course, but otherwise, why waste all that work? Let someone else (or a group of others) use it for their gain.
When everything is said and done. When the website goes down. When you make your exit and shift to new, greener pastures – your professional network will be there.
It’s like the saying they have for college … “It’s not the grades you make, it’s the hands you shake” except throw in business. These people you meet and bond with are ones that will go beyond a small product or launch … they’re there for the long-haul and it’s because of this that you’ll create wealth.