As CEO, you need to know when it’s time to make new friends, specifically in your business network. These are the friends you go to for business advice. They’re the people who you can speak candidly with. They’re the ones who are ultimately going to help you become a better CEO, a better leader, and better business owner. Increasing your network and having better friends that are also business owners can help you in a variety of ways, including increasing sales, boosting your visibility and sometimes even decreasing your costs.
Increase Your Visibility
Many CEOs and entrepreneurs have started to take the lead in building their own personal brands. For examples, brands like Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg. There are also companies like Warby Parker and many other businesses with CEOs really taking the lead. When you think about increasing and boosting your own visibility, it’s going to have a really big impact on boosting your brand’s visibility.
Additionally, when you think about making new friends, it may be a good idea to also think about people in your space starting to make a name for themselves as CEOs and business leaders. This can also contribute to not only the success of your existing business, but your future businesses as well. Remember, the first business you launch isn’t always your last. For example, Scott Sternberg launched Band of Outsiders, and now he has a new company called Entire World. It’s important that you keep company with people who are making themselves visible as CEOs. They’re great people to learn from and they’ll help you build a network and tribe.
Your network can even lower your costs. Many of our clients have been able to tap into their networks more strategically through casual friendships to lower costs. One way to think about it is how to employ a friend of a friend to get PR, marketing or other needs taken care of at lower price points. Using your networks and word-of-mouth to be able to bridge those relationships can do a lot to impact your business on a seasonal basis. Also think about branded collaborations. While there might be some brands that are really at the heels of other companies, seeking collaborations, if you’re already friends with the CEO you’re already within that circle or group. Getting access and getting those collaborations is going to be cheaper and even likely easier to execute.
A network of other business leaders can help you get in front of the right buyers, the right influencers and other key people in their networks. When it comes to building friendships, it’s never a one-way story. The people you begin to trust, the people who are working with you over time and the people who understand where you’re headed in your business, are not going to be one-on-one competitors, though of course that can sometimes be the case. Chances are you have an intrinsic value that you see in one another, and that helps boost your knowledge base and social capital. It can also help you when it comes to getting advice on negotiations.
Think about increasing your groups of friends, and focus on making new friends- not just networking. Curiously, I’m not a big fan of networking. My version of networking is highly transactional relationships. Therefore, when I say increase your groups of friends, that means one or two new people a year. As you get older, and as you have a busy life, it’s difficult to adopt new friends. Do as Gary Vaynerchuk does. Make a new friend who’s going to help you with your business. Make friendships where you have mutual interests and you want to help them.
Read our in-depth blog post on how to boost your personal brand and be sure to download our amazing CEO success mantras. These are really the foundation tools to become a strong business leader, make tough decisions, make more money, become more profitable,and build your company well.
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