I’m going to begin by prefacing with the statement that the subject of this blog is not something new or profound. Instead it should be viewed as a reminder that every person has accrued a significant amount of relationships in their lives and making it in business for yourself can mean that you have to be willing to explore the value of those relationships.
Cashing in on personal IOUs
I want to make it clear that no one owes you anything nor should you ever expect it.
I had a conversation this week with a friend of mine that is taking a risk and starting his own business. He reached out to talk about some of the things that Sparq has learned in our four years of business and something that we talked was what we called “cashing in on personal IOUs”.
Cashing in on personal IOUs is not intended to be exploitative of personal relationships. It simply illuminates the fact that through a lifetime of creating genuine, authentic relationships there comes a time when it is appropriate to reach out to those relationships and ask for help or advice. Of course it is much more likely that this type of personal relationship makes it more likely for someone to meet with you and give you a chance.
Ask and see it through
Asking for help shows humility and respect for the other individual’s professional advice and achievements and being humble and willing to accept advice makes someone much more likely to share their secrets and possibly business with you.
Keep in mind that this is not an exercise in taking advantage of relationships, you should be reaching out because you value their advice and be absolutely willing to see through on their recommendations and connections. We can trace most of our successes back to the step of asking for help but more so because we took the advice that we were given and ran with it.
I also suggest that you have a goals and specific questions in mind for your discussion. It should go without saying that focusing the conversation will result in better and much more streamlined advice. It is also makes it easier on the person that you are meeting with to be prepared for the conversation and make it more likely for them to assist you.
The pleasure is not only yours
The hurdle that you may have a hard time getting over is working up the courage to reach out to someone. If this is a challenge then remind yourself that not only do you receive the benefit of their advice but that person also gets the opportunity to remember some of the disciplines that they used to get to where they are. In my own case, I used my conversation with my friend as motivation to get back in touch with my own network and focus on growing it.
More importantly, there is a good chance that you offer them the opportunity to learn something of value or connect them to one of their goals in some way. All relationships are strongest when both sides are benefiting, so be cognizant of the things that you can do to help them as well.