Find Your ‘Debi’

A good friend recently asked for my best advice for a young colleague of hers that wants to start a home-based business. I surprised myself a bit by being able to zero in on the two key success factors for growing my similar business.

Yes, you’ve heard it before and are probably doing it. I could be doing more of it but I’m definitely making the most of what I do. Joining a weekly networking association has been a definite boost in a lot of ways: support and advice, friendships, referrals, and of course, some of the members have become clients. Networking takes me where other small business owners are, since they are my ideal clients. In recent months my networking has gone online and I’ve made some great connections through social media and my newsletter. Don’t ignore that venue.

Find Your ‘Debi’
Most who know me, also know that Debi Hartlen MacDonald at New Life Business Solutions is a close colleague and that she and I regularly exchange our expertise and opinions to help each other. What you may not know is what a boost Debi gave to my business when I rebranded and took a new direction two years ago. During the first 4 months, 49% of my sales could be traced back to referrals from Debi. So when I say “find your Debi”, I mean find a business confidante and a great referrer – all in one person. Debi’s target market overlaps with my target market and we have complementary skills and personalities.

Of course, Debi and I met at a networking event. So I guess it really all comes back to my first point above – NETWORK. But don’t just network. Take it the extra step and build relationships.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on February 14, 2012