support Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
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When is the Right Time to Share?

Today’s guest blog is an extract from Andy Lopata’s book, “Just Ask”, about when was the best time for me to share my cancer diagnosis with others.

When Ivan Misner was diagnosed with prostate cancer, working out how to fight his illness was just one challenge he faced.

Ivan was the figurehead and CEO of the world’s largest face-to-face business networking organisation, Business Network International (BNI). As much as he might have liked to focus on his medical challenges with just the support of family and close friends, he didn’t have that option. Particularly as he had chosen to fight the cancer naturally, by drastically changing his diet.

Ivan told me how he planned to share the news with his wider network and different stakeholders in his business. “People are going to find out, they are going to ask, ‘Why are you eating so crazy? Why are you losing weight?’ I’m going to doctor’s appointments all the time, so I figured just talk about the elephant in the room, calm everyone down and tell them that you have a plan.

“I made a list of eight different levels of people. Number one was extended family; my wife and kids were technically number one but they found out immediately. Number two, close family friends. Number three were key management people in the company, the top managers in BNI.

“Number four were the employees at headquarters. I literally called a staff meeting and said, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on, I just wanted you to know, what questions do you have for me? That was really important; if you don’t let them ask their questions, they are going to be asking each other and they are going to be making stuff up.

“Franchisees worldwide were number five. The sixth one was global employees and independent contractors. Number seven was an email that directors could share with members and number eight was a public posting on my blog.”

Ivan was inspired by self-development guru Brian Tracy, who had suffered from throat cancer a couple of years before and who had been very open on his blog about his journey. Ivan resolved to share ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’, making sure that people would know at all times how he was progressing. He posted every three or four months for the first year and then once a year after that.

“It calmed everyone down. This may not work for everyone but I liked it because everyone knew I had a plan. I kept saying to them, ‘If it doesn’t work, I will go and get surgery, I promise.’

“You can’t control the message but you can manage it. I was constantly managing the message, to the point of writing a book sharing the full story and the recipes that I used to completely change my diet”.

Timing is a key factor in ensuring that you benefit the most from sharing with the people around you. Leave something too long and you may find that you’ve missed the moment when other people’s help would have been most effective or their suggestions would have worked. You also face the risk, as Ivan observed, that people notice for themselves that something is wrong and you start to lose control of the message.

If you ask too early, you may feel that people will see you as someone who is not able to find solutions for themselves, who panics or who overshares. Every situation is different. Ivan calculated when he should share his news with each interested party to remain in control of the conversation. Think about the best time to share and whether different people need to be involved at different times.

Andy Lopata‘s book, “Just Ask”, is available now.

The book is available to buy on Amazon (UK) and via Amazon (US) and from booksellers around the world.

Digital copies of Just Ask are available via: http://lopata.co.uk/justask/

Please click here to find a list of online outlets.

You can also order it from an independent book retailer in your area. 

Circles of Support

Richard Branson Shares his Circles of Support Concept

Last week, I was back on Necker Island to celebrate “International Networking Week®” by “networking up” my circles of support with Richard Branson. I did a video a few years ago with Richard when we talked about a concept he had called, “the B Team”. It was brilliant and as a result of that conversation, we created the “Business Voices” initiative for the BNI Foundation. My wife, Beth, came up with that concept based on the conversation we had with Richard.

The B Team

Richard has an organization called “The Elders”, which is supporting some of the big issues in the world today: such as climate change and other things. He thought that maybe a business version of “The Elders” would be good too. They now have about 40 of the topmost respected business people in the world as part of “The B Team”. They are doing great things.

In his book, “Finding my Virginity”, Richard discusses his concept about circles of support. It perfectly aligns with my networking organization. Richard shares with me about circles of support in this video.

Circles of Support

According to Richard, when a new person joins Virgin, they will say, “Don’t try to solve all the problems of the world, just draw a circle around yourself first”. Start by drawing a circle around yourself to make sure everything inside that circle is working well. Ask yourself: Am I meeting my fitness goals? Have I got my alcohol intake right? Have I got my work-life balance in harmony? Once you feel that circle is fine, you widen the circle to include family and friends. Once all that is manageable, you can start thinking about bigger things and do everything you can to help others. If you have a small business, make a difference in your city. Support local programs that support health or education. Finally, you can draw a circle around your country and the last circle around the world.

circles of supportOrder this book by Richard Branson on Amazon

I highly recommend the book, “Finding my Virginity”, by Richard Branson. The concept of managing your circles of support on page 354 works so well for BNI members. The network that I created is where you got a small circle of people and over time, taking that circle a step further by building relationships. If everybody who reads this blog creates a circle, the world will be a better place.

circle of support

 

 

Have a Positive and Supportive Attitude

The First Law of Notable Networking: Have a Positive and Supportive Attitude

Good networking involves providing a positive and supportive environment to other business people.  Remember this: Notable Networking is predicated upon the concept that Givers Gain®

If you freely give business to others, they will give business to you.  This concept is based on the age-old notion that “what goes around, comes around.”  If I give business to you, you’ll give business to me, and we will both do better as a result.  Networking is like a savings account: if you keep investing wisely, you can draw upon it when you need it.  One enthusiastic networker who belongs to a formal networking group told me, “The longer I’m in the group, the better I get at networking and the more referrals I get.  In addition, it seems that the more referrals I get, the higher the percentage that I close!  By developing long-term relationships, I am gaining the trust of the other members, which makes it easier to receive and close the referrals that are passed to me.”

A positive, supportive attitude also includes the way you present yourself to other people.  Everyone likes to do business with an enthusiastic optimist.  If you join a networking group, remain focused on the reason you’re there.  I see far too many people go to networks and get caught up in the irrelevant nitpicking: “The food’s no good,” “The speaker was mediocre,” “This room’s not very nice,” and so on.

With the quibblers, I share this anecdote: An airline attendant once responded to a passenger’s complaints about the quality of his dinner by asking him, “When you go to a French restaurant, do you usually order an airline ticket?”  The same rationale applies to networking meetings.  The quality of the food and the speaker should be secondary to the quality of the contacts you are making.  Don’t lose sight of your purpose.

It’s not Net-Sit or Net-Eat, it’s Net-WORK!  If you want your network to work for you, then you have to work your network in a positive and supportive manner.

In many ways, the First Law of Notable Networking involves more than attitude; it’s a way of life and a good way to do business.  When you constantly and consciously keep other people in your mind, they will do the same for you.

I’ll be posting about the Second and Third Laws of Notable Networking over the next couple of weeks so be sure to check back if you want to learn even more about how to succeed as a networker.

*Can you think of a person in your network who exemplifies the First Law of Notable Networking?  If so, take this opportunity to carry out the First Law yourself and showing them your support by recognizing that person in the comments section below.  Tell us who they are and what they do that makes them such a shining example of this First Law of Notable Networking.

Think You Don’t Need a Network?–Think Again . . .

As a small-business professional or entrepreneur, how do you:

  • Get advice and help when problems arise
  • Gather the information you need for making important business decisions
  • Identify your markets and locate potential clients?

Unfortunately, most people get help in times of need from individuals or businesses they don’t know well. Instead of anticipating and planning for needs and emergencies, they are forced to react to every situation. They search the internet or ask friends and associates to help solve problems or recommend solutions, even though these people may not have the necessary expertise, and the sources they recommend may have little relevance to or experience with the business operation that is in need.

As a small-business owner, you don’t have the built-in resources to employ a management team to plan ahead, proactively problem solve, obtain and maintain ready access to vital resources–information, personnel, funding–and make informed decisions quickly in an emergency.  What you need is the functional equivalent of a management team and that is exactly what a network is for!

Your network is a systematically and strategically selected group of people on whom you can call as the need arises. It is a diverse, balanced and powerful system of sources–people from all facets of the business world–that will provide referrals, information and support in key areas of your business or profession, over both the short and the long term.

So, if you know someone who doesn’t want to put in the time and effort to establish a network because he thinks his business is just fine without one, do him a huge favor and explain why he needs to think again.

Become a Customer to Become a High Priority

One of the friendliest and most natural ways to make contact with a referral source is to buy her products or services, whether in large or small dollar amounts.  It’s important to note that the purchase doesn’t necessarily have to be from her primary line of business–perhaps a ticket to a fundraiser, a used car, a computer, even a box of Girl Scout cookies from her daughter.

By purchasing something from your network member/referral source, you become one of her customers. As a customer, you are high on her priority list; she will be more inclined to do business with you and give you information, support and referrals.  This approach also increases your source’s interest in getting to know you and staying in touch.

Tips for purchasing from your network:

  • Analyze how you are spending your money now.
  • Decide how much you want to spend.
  • Test your relationship with the people you buy from now. Do they know you? Do you benefit from doing business with them?
  • Identify the products and services your sources offer that you want or need–or the purchase of which might benefit your business in the long run.
  • Are you buying products and services from people and organizations that see you as an individual? Do the people you buy from know your name and think of you as their customer? There’s a big difference between being a customer of Sears and being a customer of Joe’s Shoe Store.
  • Use your purchasing power in a way that gives you more benefits and builds relationships.  Buy at least half of your products and services from people you know; however, don’t do it in a way that makes them feel obligated to buy things from you.
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