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11 Things People Do That Make Them Enjoy Successful Business Relationships Online

11 Things People Do That Make Them Enjoy Successful Business Relationships Online

You’ve heard that the Internet can cause your business to take off. That’s an exciting idea! How exactly do you get there? Follow these eleven tips to develop and sustain successful online business relationships.

1. Define the purpose of your networking

Before you decide to do anything else, think about your purpose. For example, your goal may be to find a better job. Or you may be seeking users for your startup. You may even be looking to learn from other people in your profession. All of these goals are fair game. For the best results, break your goal down into steps.

Consider this example:

Business Networking Online Goal: Get a more interesting and higher paid job.

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Step 1: Choose job title and industry I’m interested in (e.g. project management in the financial industry)

Step 2: Search for three people on LinkedIn who currently have that job.

Step 3: Email one of the people found in step two and ask them a few questions

Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3 each week for a month.

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2. Focus on one social media platform at a time

In the online world, it is easy to spread yourself too thin. Instead, choose one platform and focus your efforts there. For example, marketing expert and author Seth Godin focuses the majority of his effort on his blog. As a result, he has one of the Internet’s most popular blogs.

3. Write a robust LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn defines itself as the definitive business social network. If you are looking for customers or a new job, LinkedIn is an excellent resource. A strong LinkedIn profile includes your job history (especially your accomplishments), your education and your interests. Make sure your include a photo (see tip 4 below for details).

Asking colleagues and former managers to write recommendations for you is one of the best ways to build an impressive LinkedIn profile.

4. Add a high quality photo of yourself

A few months ago, I paid a friend to take a professional photo of me. The cost was around $30 and it was absolutely worth it. Put some thought and care into your business photo: you will be using it again and again as you start to use different websites.

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Not sure what to do? Dress like you’re going to a job interview and SMILE!

5. Deepen relationships via email

A few days or weeks into your efforts, you may be pleased with the number of new people you’ve added as LinkedIn connections (or Twitter followers etc). In order to get business value out of the relationship (e.g. advice for your job search, sales, etc), it makes sense to deepen the relationship. One of the best ways to do is to start an email conversation. Start small by asking 2-3 short and simple questions by email.

6. Deepen relationships via Skype or phone

Sending email back and forth puts you ahead of 90% of people. Asking to speak by phone or Skype immediately puts you into the top 1% of most skilled networkers. Since phone calls involve more effort, ask for calls thoughtfully. For example, if you add 20 people to your LinkedIn network in a month, you may only want to speak with three or four of them.

7. Evaluate your results each month

Each month, evaluate your online business relationship activitives in terms of the goal you set in step one. When you’re first getting started in the online world, you may find that your early results are not quite what you expect. That’s why it makes sense to review your progress each month.

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8. Choose how often you update

Building strong relationships takes time. Fortunately, you can speed up the process by active participation. Research reported by Kevan Lee on Fast Company suggested three Tweets per day gives the best results. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your goals and skills.

9. Write thoughtful comments

Self-promotion is important, yet it is not enough to build successful online relationships. Contributing to others is important. That means writing comments! For example, if you come across an interesting article on Twitter, reply to the person who posted it and thank them. If you read a helpful blog post, write a comment saying what you liked about it (e.g “I liked point 8 because it gave me a guideline on how often to update Twitter”).

10. Get training in online business relationships

Building online business relationships takes time and skills. In this article, we can only scratch the surface. To continue building your knowledge, seek out networking experts such as John Corcoran who shows how to connect with important people in Don’t Sweat It: 8 Strategies for Meeting and Connecting with VIPs.

11. Realize there is no replacement for face to face activities

Online tools such as social media and email are helpful for starting and continuing business relationships. However, nothing replaces face to face relationships. That’s why successful people attend conferences, look for events on Meetup.com and spend money on meals and networks.

Tip: To get the most out of a conference, start communicating with fellow conference attendees a few weeks (or months) in advance of the event.

Featured photo credit: Entrepreneur Startup Man/StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on October 28, 2020

The Crucial Letter Your SMART Goal Is Missing

The Crucial Letter Your SMART Goal Is Missing

SMART goals are a simple, logical way to organize your goals as you set them throughout life. Not only does this technique help you identify reachable goals, but it helps break down goals into smaller and more manageable pieces.

However, there is one crucial element (or letter) that is missing from this acronym. This missing letter can potentially make it harder for you to reach your goal – no matter how well you have broken down your goal into different pieces and action steps. However, once you understand this missing piece, you’ll be able to use it to move forward with your goals.

What Are Smart Goals?

If you are not familiar with the SMART goal setting technique and what the acronym means, here is a brief rundown with a simple example:

  • S = Specific — Your goal has to be specific enough (“I want to lose 4 inches off my waist”).
  • M = Measurable — You can measure your waistline every week to keep track of your progress.
  • A = Achievable — Do you think that you can do this? Or are you going too far by getting rid of yet another 4 inches? Or should you expand the goal to 5 inches; is that within reach?
  • R = Realistic — Is your lifestyle stable enough that you can commit to this goal?  Are you mentally prepared to do this? Do you have the resources you need for this goal?
  • T = Time-framed — You could want to achieve this goal within a week or within six months, but it should have a specific time frame.

As you can see, when you break down your goals like this, they become much more manageable and concrete than just saying “I want to to be slimmer.”

All fine and well, except that there is a crucial letter missing in this package – another letter “A.”

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The Missing Letter

The other letter “A” stands for accountability, and this is a great way to make sure that your defined plan is actually executed and is not left just on the talking or planning level. Even if you have crafted a masterful plan by using the SMART goal technique, it becomes useless if you don’t actually execute it. To make sure you start the execution phase, you want to throw some accountability into the mix.

By having some external pressure on your back (in the form of accountability), you are more likely to take action on your goal steps than if you just keep the plan to yourself. Accountability is based on the fact that you want to stand behind your words and save face. When you announce your goal to the world, you realize that the world is now watching you, and you don’t want to let the world down.

Accountability is also about facing the expectations of others. If you announce a goal or a task in public, other people are expecting you will achieve the tasks and goals you have laid out for yourself.

Watch this video and find out how by having dependable accountability, you can reach your goal more efficiently:

Ways to Implement the Letter “A” in Your Goal

There are plenty of ways you can go about creating accountability. Choose which one will work to motivate you the most.

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1. Keep It to Yourself

I was a bit hesitant to include this, since in this scenario you are not telling others about your plans or tasks. However, for some people this might work since your conscience is your accountability partner in this situation. And you don’t want to let your conscience down.

2. Announce It to Other People

Your people could be your colleagues at work, your local golf club buddies, the subscribers and readers of your blog, or your Twitter followers. I would say that accountability is more effective when dealing with “offline people.” Being accountable face-to-face to someone is very effective.

I’m in no way underestimating the power of “online people” either. If you are trying to form solid relationships with others online, you want to keep your word – even if you don’t necessarily meet the people in the same sense as in the offline world.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

A more intimate way of being accountable is to find an accountability partner. This could be a friend or spouse, but it needs to be someone you feel comfortable reporting to. When this route is chosen, you might decide to call your partner on a frequent basis to tell them how well you are progressing on the goal.

4. Get on Stickk.com

If none of the above ways work for you, it’s time to put Stickk into play.

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Stickk.com is a website where you can announce your goal (“Commitment Contract”), and to make you even more committed to reaching that goal, there is money at stake. Money is not mandatory to get set up with Stickk, but knowing that you will lose a certain amount of money if you don’t reach your goal can give you an extra push to get stuff done.

5. Join Mastermind Groups

A mastermind group is a group of like-minded people gathering on a frequent basis (online or offline), trying to push each other closer to their goals. This type of accountability is very common in the business world. When you are in a mastermind group and you have set the objectives you want to achieve by the next meeting, you want to get stuff done and fulfill other’s expectations.

Mastermind groups are a great way to improve your productivity and reach your goals with the help of others.

6. Hire a Coach

If you really want to get personal attention for your goals, then hiring a personal coach may be the best way to stay accountable.

Not only are you accountable to your coach, but you also have to pay for his/her attention. This makes the coach option even more effective. You want to make sure you do everything you can to get the assignments done before the deadline you two have set. So, there is a money factor to keep you accountable as well. Since you want to quickly move forward, this option is a very effective for staying accountable with your SMART goals.

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The Bottom Line

Next time, set your goal using “SMARTA,” instead. Add that letter “A” to the SMART goal setting technique:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed, Accountable.

The accountability factor of reaching your goals may be just the thing you need to make them a reality.

More Tips on SMART Goals

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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