Monday, December 17, 2007

Have Friends - Will Travel!

What do you do when you are offered an opportunity, but you are unable to fulfill it? It would be a bad move to take it on then take the risk of fouling it up and damaging your brand. Sometimes our skill sets are not complimentary with an opportunity offered. BUT we have friends or colleagues who have the desired experience.

It is important that you build relationships with your industry for just this reason. All too often, business people are very paranoid to build alliances. We all hear about partnering but putting it into action takes trust in someone you essentially don't know. Myself, I give the benefit of a doubt. Through blogging I've met a good number of people whom I've targeted as potential partners of future projects - as yet unknown.

Off-line, I've also developed professional relationships that will definitely help to put another dollar in my pocket. A great recent example of this was an email I got first thing in the morning last Friday. The writer was looking for good advice on a branding issue concerning non-profits. This is an area I have little experience with. I wouldn't dream of faking it and trying to figure it out later. My goal is to try and find the writer a solution to their problem. They found me by googling and choosing my web-site to begin their journey.

The writer was a Canadian organization with a interesting dilemma. From the initial discussion, I offered to help by referencing my resources to pull in the right experienced party to solve the problem on the table. I am located in Leamington, Ontario Canada - across from Detroit, Michigan. I contacted an associate of mine in Cincinnatti/Northern Kentucky who has a partner in Minneapolis/St. Paul who has exactly the experience needed. The Writer hailed from our nation's capitol - Ottawa.

So, in the course of an hour the writer went from a blind contact to potentially finding a solution to their problem., crossing an international border. It was accomplished with help of affiliates all working together to find opportunities to solving brand issues where ever they may occur. Of course this is networking on a global scale, but suffice to say it works. I have access to specific talents in Tampa, Florida - Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio - Brisbane, Australia - Chicago and Troy-Michigan to name a few. Of course by extension, you have trusted access to their affiliates. This is "Linked-in" on a more personal and professional level. It doesn't only apply to places far and wide but also locally with trusted contacts.

I'm not a secretive person and I dislike egos and game playing. In the spirit of trust, I enjoy the challenge of finding a solution that is asked of me. It makes my brand more powerful if I am able to develop solutions for any number of industries. It's like they say about hiring employees - hire those smarter than you. The same holds true for building your brand, build the walls with strength with yourself as the foundation.

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