Are you up to the challenge? Do you want to succeed or are you just working hard to create a low paying job for yourself?
The hardest thing for a business owner to do is to get out of the office with a purpose. That does not include having coffee with friends or going to the office supply store. The purpose I am speaking about is to talk to other business owners (to whom you have not spoken to before), find out what they do, and establish a new relationship.
The first question is, “Who are these unknown business owners and how do I find them?” Let me lay some ground work. All business owners have one thing in common, they want to grow their businesses; and, for the most part, they all need more clients. All have encountered difficulties in management, marketing, financing, Human Resources, technology or in a combination of these basic business functions. By the above definition, almost any small business owner can be a target for this exercise. By completing this challenge you will learn that most people are willing to share their story and listen to yours and that there is value in discovery since you are not able to predict what benefits you will derive from these visits.
Preparation for this exercise should include the following:
- Write a powerful opening sentence. When walking in “cold”, you may be greeted by a receptionist who will ask, “What do you want?” or a suspicious business owner or other employee asking the same question. You have 30 seconds to give them a reason to visit with you. One that I use is “My name is Nick Petra, and I am a business owner. My purpose today is to visit with several business owners and establish relationships that will help us grow our businesses. Do you have a few minutes to chat?” This may not be the best approach for you. Develop an opening statement that makes you comfortable. Another one that I have used is,” I want to step out of my comfort zone and meet business owners whom I don’t know with the hope of establishing a support relationship. Do you have a few minutes to visit?”
- Since you initiated the meeting, you are in command. The objective is to get the business owner to share his story and his business needs. Two good questions to ask are: “Tell me about your business,” and then as a follow up ask, “What have you found is the most difficult aspect of running a business?” These two questions will open up a discussion. Always remember, it is better to listen than to speak.
- Make sure you have a brief story of our own to share when the occasion arises.
- Keep the meeting short.
- Set up a coffee or lunch meeting before you leave. Go to a neutral site, coffee shop or restaurant for your next visit.
- Yes, leave a business card.
Fear is a game that your mind plays with you. Don’t let it win. Nick J. Petra CFP
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