Life is a Contact Sport

Most people in business take great pains to develop their business plan, structure their marketing, and project their cash flow, but few plan how they will meet the people they want or need to meet.

In every industry there is a king pin and in every community there is someone who makes things happen. In every media outlet there is a person that has the power to make you a star and it’s your job to find the person in your industry or community and develop a relationship with them.

As your Chamber of Commerce, we truly believe that business is better together. If you are not sure who you need to meet, or just want to enhance your reputation, here are a few suggestions, which might just help:

Your Own Resource Directory

The first place to start looking for new relationships is with the people you know already and create a resource directory. List all the people you know, get their contact information, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and social media accounts addresses.

The more you know about a person, especially their likes and dislikes, the quicker you can build rapport with them. Often in conversation it becomes apparent they are connected to a host of people you’d love an introduction to. You will often be amazed by the host of connections you have right under your feet if only you are willing to dig a little.

Here are 6.5 ways to build relationships and enhance your reputation.

All of them start with this: getting involved in your community.

1. Charity

It stands to reason that the people involved in giving their time and effort to any given charity are people of means and respect in the community. Doing charitable work will almost always boost your own personal self-esteem and confidence. There is a true sense of satisfaction that comes from helping those less fortunate that yourself. Best of all, the relationships you can develop aiding such causes can be among your most valuable.

When picking which charity to support, there are several considerations depending on what you want to accomplish. Pick a charity that resonates with you; where you see the value in the work they do, pick one where you know the people you want to be connected to are involved, pick one where you can make a difference like a small local project that is rooted in your community.

At the Chamber we practice what we preach; we are keen supporters of the Rotary in Newton Abbot. Have a look at their corporate membership.

2. Business and Networking Groups

In addition to the Chamber of Commerce take a look at focused business and networking groups, the secret to effective networking is to be active in your support; many members don’t fully participate and then wonder why is isn’t working for them. Build your reputation through engagement and participation.

3. Clubs

In my experience there is simply no better place in the world to meet people and develop lasting relationships than joining a club. I am sure that part of the attraction of golf is the enormous power the game has in networking people. Even if golf is not your game, a social membership which allows you to use the bar and dining facilities can often be the best business investment you will ever make, and this is a great way to start or re-engage with a hobby.

4 Association Events

Association events can help you build credibility in your industry and gives you opportunity to meet others from associated fields. Often it is the people on the fringe of the association who can have the greatest impact on boosting your reputation, and connecting you with interesting people

5. Trade Shows

B2B trade exhibitions are a no-brainer if you want to put your business on front of the widest possible business audience, people attending these exhibitions are looking to meet new people, to find new suppliers and business partners so remember: if you are not there… it won’t be you!

6. Become a Media Expert

Have you ever noticed on TV that as soon as they have a hostage crisis, or a plane crash, or some other newsworthy event, all of a sudden they put an expert on from Oxford, or an ex-military general, or somebody who seems to know a lot about the specific situation they’re describing no matter what it is? Well the reason that they can put their finger on these people so quickly is that each TV station and radio show keeps a resident list of experts on a thousand different topics. If you want to be considered the expert in your field/area, contact all the media announcing that you are an expert in whatever your field, along with perhaps a couple of related topics. Any time they have a newsworthy event and they slip through their file, guess who’s going get the call as the leading expert in the area when it comes to your topic? How do you become the expert? You become the expert by telling everybody that’s what you are.

Join the Chamber and get involved and engaged in the business community. Right now you don’t know who you don’t know. What better way than to start to actively develop and grow your own sphere of influence having met other businesses.

Always, always initiate. The more contact you make the more business and opportunities you will bring into your life!

Because Business is Better Together?


Steve Gaskell
Chairman Newton Abbot Chamber.

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