Networking is critical to the success of any venture. The more critical question is do you do it with a clear-cut and solid strategy or do you just “wing it”?
Truth be told, a lot are smack dab in the winging it category. Don’t fret, you can make quick and easy adjustments that will set even your high priority networking tasks on autopilot.
The first thing you do is outsource the research. Hire a VA who can link you up with potential JV partners, affiliates, set you up with guest interviews, and provide all other marketing options.
Armed with a list of requirements, your VA can spend an hour or two on Google and give you a compilation of people you can reach out to. Just imagine what 100 – or even 10 – new JV partners can contribute to your business growth!
The second thing is to automate your initial connection. Prepare a script or email template that you can send to potential partners. Your VA can easily send this email or call on your behalf. Having the script on standby will accomplish two things:
1) facilitate a faster response time since you don’t need to think about what to say, and 2) tweak the script whenever the need arises to get you better results. Just as you split test your emails, you can test your outreach process as well.
The next thing is to automate your follow-up. This may sound like a repetition of the previous step, but it is more efficient to prepare an email or phone script for a speedier response. You or your VA or an email autoresponder series can follow-up on prospective partners through a series of preset emails.
Then, the final thing is to automate your scheduling. Use a service like TimeTrade or vcita to set up your calendar with preferred times for interviews, webinars, and such. Provide JV partners the links to book time with you and the schedules will automatically appear on your calendar. This cuts down on the back and forth discussions on potential meeting times and with a single click, your partner can choose the time that works for both of you.
However, always be diligent in using your calendar. If not, you run the risk of conflicting appointments.
Yes, it takes a bit of work to set up these systems. But, once your system is in place, it will be so much easier to attract and work with JV partners, guest experts, and others. Not only that, you will have more time to concentrate on creating new programs and services. With the time you save, you may even hang out with the kids a bit more. You deserve some time off.
Have you ever thought about saving an hour a day? That adds up to 5 hours a week…more than half a day you can be off! Imagine getting off work at 11am on Fridays and knowing everything was completed to your satisfaction.
I have outlined four solutions that you can set up right now, and close up shop early on Fridays Let’s start with proper project management. Stop managing your team with email and Skype messages. Messages are forgotten (or worse never received), things get lost, and tasks are left unfinished. That doesn’t include the precious time you waste sifting through a seemingly endless list of emails just to find a necessary piece of information.
Start by signing up with Asana today and put all your projects there instead. You’ll only have this one spot to check for uncompleted tasks and tell right at a glance what requires immediate attention.
Second, get organized with proper documentation. Are you consistently reinventing the wheel when you record podcasts or upload video blogs? Take 5 minutes and document the steps, so the next time you do it you can quickly work through the process. Or a much better option – hand it off to a VA. There will be fewer mistakes, and the work gets done faster.
Third, create a business organization chart. This is critical especially if you have several people on your team. Taking the time to create an organization chart eliminates the need for everyone to come to you with their questions – or worse, getting wrong answers from asking the wrong persons. Include this in your operations manual and brief your team about it and what it’s for. So, instead of your Skype chat blowing up with questions all day long, you will have more time for the more pressing tasks.
Lastly, block out time on your calendar. Check your calendar and make appointments with yourself. Delineate schedules for checking emails, working on client projects, and stick to your schedule. Having self-imposed deadlines not only forces you to accomplish tasks but keeps you focused and eliminates wasting time on Facebook or other social media sites.
Initially, setting up these systems can be done in an afternoon. However, the time you save by using them consistently is phenomenal. Saving an hour a day is merely the beginning. All it takes is for you to take action. As with everything in this world, by putting in the work first, you earn the rewards and reap the benefits. In the end, you’ll wonder how you ever managed your business without using these four effective solutions.