The other day I had a conversation with someone who recently went into business for himself after working for a large global firm for many years. He told me he planned to reach out to his network of contacts he had sold to while working for his former consulting company in order to generate sales for his new business. Those of you who have being following me know that I believe we are only as strong as our network. But in this particular situation I don’t believe that is the best strategy. Certainly this new business owner has vast experience selling technology-consulting services to Executives at an enterprise level. However, I don’t believe that this new start-up has the “bandwidth” yet to successfully engage with the large enterprise.
There are many MSP business owners who I consider good friends of mine who might also be great partners for me. But I never, ever sell to them. At times these friends might ask me for input on their business decision but not as often as you might think. I have an unwritten rule; I don’t sell to friends, because I would rather keep them as friends than have them as partners. On the flip side, I have become friends with some of my partners. Actually, some have become very good personal friends of Loree and me. But it didn’t start off that way. It took some time of working together, learning about each other and from that the friendships grew.
Many of you may be saying that you have good relationships with your clients and I think that’s great. But I feel strongly that if you value your friendships, it’s not the best idea to sell your business services to your friends or to a network you built working somewhere else. I believe you should invest your time in building and cultivating new business relationships that fit into your business model. If the business relationship becomes a personal one after a time, that could be fantastic. But, in my experience those relationships are few and far between.
I am going to end this post by saying, keep working on building your network of peers, clients, prospects and referral sources. I promise that when you work your network, you will build your net worth. The most important friend you can make in business is the one that will help you achieve your goals.
All the best in success,