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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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Published on December 18, 2018

How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

The truth has always shined.

Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.[1] A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

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For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

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3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

Why?

Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.[2] If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

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Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

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The Bottom Line

Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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