We all face challenging situations at times, and whether someone is a master networker or they are new to business networking, occasionally we need to rely on the help and encouragement of others.
I believe in learning to rely on the people who respect, admire, and love you. They have the purest motives for helping you because they are genuinely interested in your well-being. They accept you as you are and will usually do whatever they can to help you achieve any goal. Even though they may not have all the knowledge or information you need, or the ability to bring you new customers, if you direct their willing efforts they can give you emotional, spiritual, physical, or financial support.
The gift of time can be an extremely valuable resource. The members of your network’s support component can help you at crucial moments in your business. They can perform essential tasks, lend you money, encourage you, work for you, help you deal with an emergency, serve as a sounding board for your ideas, even fill in for you for a couple of hours if needed.
To make the most of this resource, you need to determine who they are.
The CATEGORIES of Your Support Network
The people most likely to give freely of their support fall into several different categories.
- YOUR MENTORS
People who are or have been your mentors genuinely believe in you, care about you and your success, and can be counted on for honest feedback and encouragement.
- PEOPLE YOU HAVE TAUGHT OR MENTORED
These people are typically excited to hear from you and will remind you of how much they appreciate your support. They also open doors to business opportunities by spreading positive messages about you.
- PEOPLE YOU HAVE HELPED
People remember those who have done something helpful for them. Think about people to whom you have donated money, time, or other gifts. Most will go out of their way to support you. This can include people in your referral networking group, too.
- YOUR CO-WORKERS, COLLEAGUES, ASSOCIATES, AND CLASSMATES
The friendships you’ve made throughout your schooling and career often become friends for life. You know, like, and respect each other. You may be reluctant to call upon a friend for help because you don’t want to admit you need it. Don’t let your ego get in the way; utilize these sources. A true friend will be eager to help and will not think any less of you.
- YOUR FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS
We often take our family and personal friends for granted, and yet they are, perhaps, our most reliable source of support. Don’t ignore them. However, we do need to keep in mind that some may be more reliable than others.
- OTHER MEMBERS OF NON-BUSINESS GROUPS
People you have worked with outside of business, such as members of community service organizations, apartment or homeowner associations, local youth programs– they may be willing to support you in activities outside of the group’s normal scope. Join, participate, generously donate your time, and let others help you in your endeavors.
- YOUR FORMER MANAGERS, SUPERVISORS, AND INSTRUCTORS
These people are familiar with your work habits, ethics, values, abilities, interests, and character. They also know what it takes to get you to perform at your highest level. Often, like surrogate parents, they feel responsible for your success. It is okay to take advantage of this parental instinct.
- YOUR RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL LEADERS, MEMBERS, AND GROUPS
If you belong to a religious organization, there is a bond with others through a shared faith. It would be a mistake not to seek the backing of those leaders and other members. If on occasion you need them, don’t hesitate to use the support services and groups that are available.
The MEMBERS of Your Support Network
Now, go through your contacts to determine all the people you know who fit into each category. List as many names as you can. It’s okay if someone is listed more than once. The more names, the better. If one person is unable to provide the kind of support you need at a particular moment, you’ll have others to fall back on.
Keep in touch with them. Learn about the talents, knowledge, and contacts these friends and supporters have to offer. You may find that a simple call to say hello can turn into an opportunity for you to help them, too.
I think anyone who is building their business should consider these eight categories of support network members when you have some challenges, need feedback or help in some way. Remember, sources of help and encouragement are closer than you think.
Is there anyone else you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about your experiences with your support network in the comments.