I have found myself carefully cherry picking my way through my professional contact list and really being honest with myself in asking these three questions:
– Is this someone I will know in 10 years time?
– Is this a person who will push me by inspiration and challenge to be where I want to be?
– Can this person add the kind of value I need to get to where I want to be?
Now, instantly you may look at those questions and think – wow, thats cold. But hang on a bit…hear me out. How many times do we read professional business books that keep telling us to value our time more, and quite clearly say in order to progress…you need to think progressively and consistently challenge your comfort zones? I constantly receive great feedback from people about how I add value to them and open their eyes to a view that they hadn’t considered. Thats super for them – because they have identified that they would like me in their Business Lifeboat. That doesn’t automatically mean they will be in mine though – unless of course they have the knowledge and skills in areas that I don’t have and their business persona intrigues me. There’s nothing wrong with that – its just making sure you remember where you are in the order of things.
Many a small business owner makes the mistake of spraying a whole lot of time at everyone and everything that they come into contact – hoping for something to stick. That works for about 5 minutes and you are exhausted and without any recognisable return.
My message is be “brutally” professional – annihilate the time wasters and hangers-on and carefuly cultivate the real professional relationships and contacts that you know will support you and to whom you can also offer value to in return.
With franchisor clients I really bring this home to them in that they have a fantastic vantage point to be looking out for the future of their network of franchisees. They are in a position to recognise valuable branding joint initiatives and professional alliances that the franchisee wouldn’t have dreamed possible as a stand alone Joe Soap. Zone in on this power of professional alliance and heighten your franchise offering overtime – by doing this you not only create emotional loyalty from your franchsiees – but, hell, you are also creating a fantastic case for economic loyalty too.