Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering
By Carol Weaving
Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the fulcrum of our economic engine; not only in South African but across the African continent. In South Africa, they provide employment to about 60% of our labour force and they plug-in various gaps in a number of industry value chains, facilitating the effective running of said industries.
Equally important, SMEs are, as South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Francois Groepe asserts, “an essential conduit whereby millions of people enter the economic and social mainstream of a society.”
Through small businesses, the everyman has relatively unfettered access to an otherwise cryptic and many a time, exclusive realm. At a time when our economy needs us all to pull and push together, they present an effective pathway to economic inclusion.
With this in mind, supporting small businesses could not be more urgent. In South Africa, SMEs make up 91% of formalised businesses and are responsible for 34% of our GDP. These are huge numbers that can be bigger the more support there is for SMEs.
We need platforms that facilitate entrepreneurship and small business growth, like the Small Business Expo which is the evolution of 20 years of Thebe Reed Exhibitions’ dedication to entrepreneurship.
The exhibition, focuses on facilitating relationship brokering between small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, franchisors, corporate leaders and business hubs and incubators. Through effective relationship brokering, small business owners connect and support each other, and grow their establishments.
1. Know your own story, and know it well
Sharing your story – whether it’s your business proposition, your skill set or a project you are working on – is a determinant of successful relationship brokering. You have to know your story, and know it well enough to share it in a compelling manner. Your story is part of the collateral you leave any prospective business connections.
2. Relationship brokering builds social capital
Your own and the social capital of those around you. It’s a process that, when done right, builds your influence and profiles your authority. Not only do you get a chance for people to know you, but also for people to get to know what you do and the pedigree you possess as a business owner, entrepreneur or professional. You position yourself, on an uninterrupted stage that is formal yet relaxed and personal.
3. Relationship brokering is about building sustainable communities of people and businesses that complement each other
It’s about fostering collaboration where synergies exist and enabling connections where business opportunities exist. Beyond that, a successfully built community becomes the support structure to members of its network.
4. Build and maintain bridges
Don’t put yourself first. Pay attention to your business associates and connections. Ascertain their needs and assist them in addressing those needs. During that process, you profile your own skill set and showcase what you and your business can do. This is important as relationship brokering is only self-serving to a point. If it becomes a one-way street, connections crumble because no one wants to be involved in a one-way relationship.
5. Relationship brokering facilitates sharing
Relationships are about mutual value and this mutual value is not only monetary but also about shared objectives, visions and ambitions. This connection must allow parties to draw value strategically for the outcome of a business endeavour or opportunity. The shared value can include knowledge, skills transference or specialist experience – whatever the attribute, achieving mutual value is the objective of the relationship.
6. Quality trumps quantity
Relationship brokering is not a business card collection contest after all. Focus on those businesses and personalities who are stakeholders in your industry’s value chain. Always remember that one quality business relationship surpasses a rolodex of business cards who have no link to your work or industry.
7. Do follow up. Do reach out
Many of us do more than enough sharing of contact details but not enough following up and reaching out. Follow up to legitimise the connection and start building a relationship.
How To Do Well In Speed Networking Sessions
By Sohaib Azam, Esq
For those who have never done speed networking before or never heard of it, speed networking is when you go from table to table speaking with various business owners and/or representatives and exchange information and business cards. You have a specified period of time, usually around three to five minutes and then you move to the next table. You can definitely benefit from speed networking if you know how to do it effectively. This article will give some advice on that subject.
#1: Make Sure To Get Information About The Owner’s Personal Story Behind The Business
There’s always more to a business than its name, brand image, or what it sells. There’s always a personal story behind every business. It is important to take the limited time you have between tables and learn the inspiration behind each business. Not only does it present an opportunity for you to learn about the business and what it sells, it shows the other person how much you care about their business and helps establish a connection between you two on a much deeper level. This will inspire the other person to network with you and help you find leads for your client.
It’s important to keep in mind the limited amount of time you have between tables. Hence, you will have to know what questions to ask that will probe the most important information from the other person.
#2: Always Volunteer Information About Your Company, Even If You Are Not Asked
This point may be a controversial one because it may involve you being selfish to some degree. In such a short period of time between tables, you need to make sure the other person learns something about your company. This might include some perspective about your personal story pertaining to why you started the business as well as how your business is different than others. As always, you must take into consideration the short amount of time you have to convey information. Thus, you must choose what information you think will have the greatest impact but that you will be able to convey within the given time.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Sohaib_Azam,_Esq/2182390
INSPIRE – A Power Word for Every Day
In 2011 this word came crashing into my life as being central to everything I am about. I had the privilege of meeting Thomas Power from the UK, in person, in Sydney. Thomas spent an hour with me taking me through a guided session that resulted in bringing everything that drives me down to two words.
Those 2 words were: Inspiring Solutions.
Thomas’ instructions to me were to treat those two words as key to everything I do and I started from that moment on to build my personal brand around ‘Inspiring Solutions’. A few months later I set up my first LinkedIn profile and used my new ‘core words’ to create the following statement:
“Passionate, energetic and dynamic, I am all about inspiring solutions through international business development and helping others network and connect effectively.”
From 2011 and even more so today, ‘Inspiring Solutions’ is my benchmark for everything I share on-line, everything I tweet about, like, re-share, post, comment on and for offline face to face networking conversations, discussions, topics I will talk about and even people I choose to associate with. If it is aligned with inspiring solutions, I am there. If it is not then I politely choose to exit or change the subject and I like to think I honestly manage this most of the time.
The simple word ‘inspire’ and all its variations, inspiring, inspiration, inspirational, have taught be more about life, about attitudes towards business and pleasure, about people, about positive change that focus on 2 key words brings, than I ever would have thought possible.
My favourite definition of the verb to inspire is
To fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence; to fill with enlivening or exalting emotion
I have discovered the power of choosing to become inspiring and have been on a mission for the last couple of years to inspire others to choose the same. This personal purpose statement that I created at a workshop led by Jan Haldane is a powerful reminder: ‘My purpose is to express my passion, energy and drive to inspire, connect and build engaging networks with people and businesses.’
I could write all day about this amazing little word inspire but I will choose to finish off with some of a key note that I wrote and delivered as part of a Corporate Series led by Cam Calkoen in 2014:
“Inspiring people are attractive. They ooze something which the rest of us want – they feed us, challenge us, and energise us. We want to follow them, know them, and be associated with them.
In choosing to become inspiring, you will choose to become one of those people who others gravitate towards. They will share your posts, like your blogs and updates, will connect with you, follow you, meet face to face with you, attend events you are at, introduce you to others and look to build some kind of relationship with you.
So inspire those around you and find others who inspire YOU. Build your network around these 2 points and you will have loyal connections who will bring others who they think would be inspired by or resonate with you AND you will be doing the same for those connections who inspire you.
It’s all about GIVE and TAKE. Giving comes first.”
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand
FOCUS – A Power Word for Every Day
In April 2008, I bought a book at the airport as I was boarding a long haul flight. It was entitled, ‘The Power of Focus’ by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. I read it cover to cover on the plane, not realizing how much it was literally going to change my outlook on both my business and personal life.
I learned that,“It’s all about focus. The main reason most people struggle professionally and personally is simply lack of focus.”
I learned that, ‘my habits will determine my future’ and that ‘it takes focused action, personal discipline and lots of energy every day to make things happen’.
The word ‘Focus’ became my mantra for 2008 and it guided me through what turned out to be an extremely challenging but rewarding year. Another best selling author Brian Tracy claims that, ‘Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.’
Over the last 8 years, I have continued my journey both personal and business, learning the power of focus, seeing both successes and failures but all the while learning more and more the fact that much more is achieved when we focus instead of spreading ourselves too thinly or trying to target everyone, ending up targeting no one.
Focus is potent, undiluted and it attracts.
JF Kennedy said, “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
It is timely that now for 2016, ‘focus’, meaning having a central point of attention, is one of our key words to drive our business growth across our Business over Breakfast (BoB) Club network in Australia and New Zealand.
Focus clarifies, cuts out the distractions and provides a constant reminder of what you set out to do, who you set out to be and where you set out to go and it is focus that keeps you on the track to get there.
Focus narrows it all down, brings a simplicity and a strength. It un-complicates you and your brand. When you have focus, others can see that and are attracted to the power that brings.
Focus is and will always remain in our list of key words to drive us forward both personally and professionally. If you have not embraced ‘focus’ and its power in your personal and business life, then I strongly encourage you to do so today. We welcome comments and questions.
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand