Earlier this week, I attended a local networking meet up and the main discussion was about marketing – right up my alley! It was interesting to hear how different people in different industries market their businesses. But there was at least one common thread – how much we rely on our fellow business owners for word-of-mouth marketing. And what I loved about this meet up group was that everyone seemed very happy to support each other.
In the last five years as a self-employed entrepreneur, I’ve attended a lot of conferences and a lot of networking events. Once in a while you encounter someone who views you as competition – and treats you as such. They are only interested in meeting people who can help them, and not interested in helping others. This has never made sense to me. Isn’t there enough room for everyone? And wouldn’t you rather have friends instead of enemies? There’s a saying that I absolutely love: “Dimming someone else’s light does not make yours shine brighter.”
Supporting your fellow business owners is actually pretty easy. Here are some ideas:
1. Attend local networking meetings and get to know people who are in your same industry & profession. I am friends with a lot of people in the wedding industry, and I LOVE how they support each other. If you are an event planner, make friends with your fellow event planners! We all have so much to learn from each other. Plus it’s good to be friends with people in your same profession so if you’re booked, you can refer people you know and trust … and they can do the same for you!
Here are some networking communities that I love:
Rising Tide – Tuesdays Together (for all creative entreprenurs)
Association of Bridal Consultants (for wedding industry)
Wedding Industry Professionals Association (for wedding industry)
Wedding and Party Professionals (wedding and event industry in Los Angeles)
2. Interact and share on social media. Be sure you’re following your fellow business owners on their social media channels so you can like, comment, and share their content. And hopefully they will do the same for you!
3. Send Thank You cards and Holiday cards. If you work with a vendor you really love, show your appreciation with a nice email, or better yet, a handwritten Thank You card in the mail. Snail mail is so rare these days, you’re sure to stand out and be remembered.
4. Take your “competition” out for lunch. Is there someone in your industry who you really admire? Perhaps they seem to be crushing it with their business, or seem to know all the right people. Offer to take them to lunch or coffee if they would be willing to talk business with you. Most creative entrepreneurs really do want to help each other, but you never know unless you ask!
How do you support your fellow business owners? Be sure to add your ideas to the comments.