Good read from the American Express OPEN business forum around the importance of building your strategic network.

Snippet:

You can easily and logically develop joint marketing initiatives with one or more partners and share the costs of promotion while borrowing trust built by each partner. This can include brochures, sales calls and workshops hosted jointly.

Many of the most successful partners that I've come across have built solid networks in their local community  - not just with other IT organisations, but accountants, business advisors, book-keepers & other professional service organisations. They work hard to be part of a set of trusted advisors & benefit from the halo effect of their relationship with other providers.

Vijay Riyait, one the UK SBSC PALs was one of the best I've seen at doing this. He cultivated a network of businesses in the Midlands & spent time attending conferences, talking at chambers of commerce meetings & basically spreading around the goodwill. Yes, he knows his stuff on SBS, but he also makes sure he can talk business.

So, who's in your network?

  • Do you know 10 accountants / book-keepers in your area?
  • When did you last do a public presentation on SBS to a group of businesses?
  • Do you have a client reference program in place to generate good word-of-mouth?
  • What pro-bono work can you point to that shows you're a good all-round company?
  • Are you a member of your local chamber / toastmasters / Rotary / Lions club etc?

Cheers & would love to hear about good examples of this,

Robbie