Remember the favorite childhood game, Red Rover? Two lines of kids faced one another in the elementary school playground. The first side called out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Susie right over!” Susie would run at full speed, attempting to break through the linked arms of students on the opposing side. If the link was not strong, it did not hold up under the strain. The same goes for your business. Is your team strong enough to withstand outside stressors? Samples of stressors might include a new competitor, a demand for new services for which you do not have the skillset or expertise, economic factors, the loss of a primary client, or perhaps a large increase in the demand for your business services.
So how do you create that strong team or network so your business can withstand these stressors? Let’s first look at one more analogy.
Uh-Oh! Will the Rope Hold? Let’s pretend you and a friend are on a hiking trip of a lifetime (in the Great Smoky Mountains), and you fall off the edge of a cliff and barely manage to hang on with one hand. Your friend has one opportunity to save you. Would you prefer she throw you a lovely powder blue, 7-foot length of single polyester thread or a strong, flexible 7-foot length of rope, woven tightly from the strongest synthetic fibers?
Easy choice, you say? Throw me the strong, flexible rope, the one that will save your life! Then why not apply the same principle to your business by building a strong, interweaved network of individuals and resources to support you and your business. Don’t depend on a single, static thread to keep your business thriving.
Strengthen Your Rope The powder blue thread represents your business when you do not have a strong network in place. It is appealing and useful, but probably not strong enough to withstand the heaviest of strains. Add strength to your business by weaving yourself into a network of resources, including local chambers, professional organizations, public relations and marketing professionals, responsive vendors, business contacts in comparable roles, non-profit representatives, and community leaders and so on. You may also want to include mentors and life coaches as part of your network, and even fitness trainers and nutritionists. Anyone who helps you be at the top of your game.
Always be expanding and strengthening your network of resources. Determine where you have weaknesses in your network and reach out to the appropriate resource. Put a strategy in place for expanding your network. Are you a member of a chamber of commerce or of another professional organization? If not, search for and join an appropriate organization. Do you lack resources or skills in one particular area? Reach out to your network to fill the void. Partner with companies who can help you expand your business. Your network can provide information, support, potential prospects and clients, as well as strategic partners.
So what are you reaching for – the lovely blue thread or the strong, flexible rope?