Do you want to know the secret to business success?
Building a successful requires resources, focus, and determination, but that’s not the secret.
Building a profitable business requires a plan and steps to reach the plan (because you have to know where you want to go and then you have to go there), but that’s not the secret.
Building a better business requires a marketing plan that will stand the ever-changing landscape of the World Wide Web, but even that’s not the secret. It is ALL about relationships.
The secret to building your success is to be intentionally invested in people.
- Create connections
- Be helpful to those connections
You have to make the choice to be invested in others because everything worth doing and worth being will grow up on a foundation of relationships.
How to be Intentionally Invested
A woman sat in a resting yoga pose breathing. Her husband watched for a few moments from the door. After several minutes, he had to comment (fortunately, he was smart enough to stay in the door away from his wife – he had been married for several years, so he had learned).
“Honey, I thought you told me you were coming in here to work out.”
His wife continued to breathe without answering. Several more minutes passed, and a buzzer sounded. She looked up at her husband and took one more deep breath.
“I am working out.”
“You’re just breathing.”
“Yes, but I’m breathing with intention. Every time I breathe in, I tighten my core muscles. As I breathe out, I’m intentional about how long I breathe out and count four more counts than what I breathed in. These intentional moves allow me to tighten my muscles and strengthen my lungs.”
“But you were just breathing.”
“Breathing with intention tightens and strengthens without straining.”
“You definitely aren’t straining if you are just sitting there breathing.”
Unfortunately for the husband, he didn’t see the water bottle behind her back. Next time he would know to stay away and to be sure to duck.
Power from Intentional Action
Despite the ending to the story, the intention transfers to most things you do. When you are intentional, you think through the actions with focus. You are doing something on purpose and not because of muscle memory or without thought.
While we don’t advocate bottle-throwing (or taunting your wife from the doorway), we do advocate for intentional actions. Being intentionally invested in people requires thinking about them – their needs, their struggles, their hopes – and then trying to find a way you can help them in what they need.
Rules for Making Connections
You can’t grow a business alone. Even a solopreneur needs customers or clients for the business to thrive. You have to get connected.
1. It’s not about I
There may be an “I” in business, but the “I” cannot rule. Forget the idea of “what have you done for me lately” and look at how you can be a blessing or a benefit for the people you encounter.
2. Connections can happen anywhere
Be on the lookout for connections while you shop for groceries, wait to get your car change, attend community events, or are just out walking your dog. Because you are looking to invest in others, connections can happen everywhere you look.
3. Aim for the long game
Connection seeds sometimes have to sit in the ground for a while before they grow up into a possibility. Be patient.
Once you develop connections, you have to nurture them.
Tips for Nurturing Connections
If connections are vital to helping your business grow, then helping is the secret sauce to get it done.
- Listen more than you speak. Listen with your ears, but also listen with your eyes. People show more than they say. When you listen to the problem, then you can find a way to help.
- Ask more questions. Just because they said so doesn’t mean it is so or that it’s the whole story. Asking more questions gives you more information and shows the other person you’re interested in what’s being shared.
- Avoid unsolicited advice. You can know the answer, but they may not want the answer you know. If they don’t ask, then don’t share.
- Be empathetic. You can relate to what others are going through, but you will never experience exactly what they are going through (because we are all unique people). Show empathy without trying to equalize your experiences.
- Be personal and specific. Whether your speaking in the store, on social media, or in a note. Generic responses don’t grow connections. Sometimes they smother them. Find the words that will be aimed at the individual in the moment.
Be intentional in making connections and then investing in growing them. Helping others is the secret sauce for growing connections
The old man was forced to retire from a job he loved. Instead of giving up, he signed up to be a greeter at the local big box store. He greeted everyone that came in, asked if he could help them, and eventually got to know people on a first-name basis.
Eventually, the management moved him to a position at a cash register, and his line stayed packed. Other lines could be open, but people would wait in his line because he genuinely cared about the people who came through their line and made the day better because of his willingness to invest.
Benefits of Intentional Investment
When you are invested in others, people will be more patient, more understanding, and more willing to invest back in you (which results in getting paid).
How will you be intentionally invested in others?
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