If you spend most of your time perfecting your products and services and mastering your craft, expecting a huge return on your investment, what I'm about to say might sound unfair. And that is--it's not what you know that will determine your long-term success, but it's who you know and who knows you! The reason I can state this with such conviction is because it wasn't until I wholly embraced this truth did I see my business make an upward spike.

You can have the greatest product in the world and a dozen letters behind your name, but if you're not in the loop with the right people, you're going to be in for a long, slow haul. People are critical to the success of your business-but not just any people. There must be people in your network who are more advanced than you, and have enough influence to give you a leg up. Just keeping it real! I heard Dennis Kimbro say, "If you're the smartest person in your circle, then you're in the wrong circle."

Apart from your broader networking circle, think of two people you would like to meet.
Your agenda shouldn't be for the sole purpose of what you can get from them. There needs to be a
genuine desire to connect and create a mutually beneficial, professional relationship. Here are four guidelines to follow if you're interested in connecting with a specific person:

1. Ask around to determine if there's someone you know who can introduce you to the person. You will be surprised at the connections the people close to you have.

2. Subscribe to their newsletter or blog and interact with them.

3. Purchase their products and services

4. Attend the same events as they attend.

Be patient and look for the right opportunity to reach out to them for help.
If you invest in other people and they feel that you are genuine, and are benefitting from their product and services, they will be more inclined to help give you a leg up.

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Comment by Rebecca McClain on July 24, 2010 at 4:30pm
First of all, the fact that you had the courage to take the leap of faith and launch a business full-time sets you apart from the majority. So give yourself a big pat on the back for that! Next, you must give your business exposure/visibility within your target market and to people who have influence within your target market. Being another "best kept secret " has no redeeming value.

Where most entrepreneurs miss it is in their approach. Being assertive has its place but being pushy or "salesly" is a sure turnoff. Your goal is to build relationships and that takes time. Using terms such as "brown nosing" or connecting "upward" indicates a lack of confidence that you are deserving of being around people that have achieved a higher level of success. But, the truth is they are where they are because someone helped to pull them up. They didn't get to where they are on their own. How can someone on the same step you're on help pull you up to their level?

The first thing you need to do is change your mindset and begin visualizing yourself as a "colleague" of the people who are now on an advanced level, and begin the process of making it happen. There's nothing disengenuous about that.

For more tips on the REAL keys to your long-term success, check out Your Unfair Advantage at
Comment by Genia James on July 24, 2010 at 4:35am
Wow! This was very relevant information. I think every motivated biz woman, as myself, considers this task of meeting and networking with people that are more advanced and higher up than they, at some point. The delimna always emerges for me when I think of how. I am a very assertive person and ambitious as well, I am great with people and comfortable in new environments but there is somehow always this question mark as to how to go about this without seeming too eager or feeling cautious about having to spend money or feel as though you have to "brown nose" to get in with knowing the right circle. I appreciate genuine people as I am and though necessary, connecting "upward "can sometimes have a very ingenuine feeling about it.I would love to hear more about this subject. This was very helpful. Thank you.

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