You started your business to make a difference. “Make a difference” doesn’t have to be epic, change the world stuff. Perhaps it’s about being home for your kids. Or maybe you’re simply motivated by a desire to transform your own life (this isn’t simple – it’s epic and commendable).
But when you’re occupied with building a business, it can seem impossible to find the bandwidth to make a positive difference for anyone. You’re just trying to keep up with your to do list and fit in some sleep and the occasional shower. After all, with the social media universe to monitor and all the content there is to create, how do you even have time to do the actual work? (Never mind wash your hair.)
You want to stay aligned with why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. How can conquer the overwhelm that so often feels like part of the small business owner’s job description?
You beat the “I don’t have the time or energy to make a difference” blues when you devote whatever resources you do have to building strong relationships.
Relationships are fundamental to your success at all levels. You create authentic marketing content when you’re more focused on building relationships than you are on simply making sales. Joint ventures that boost your visibility rely on genuine, person-to-person connections with your entrepreneurial peers. People buy from you when they feel like you care about them.
All the effort lavished on designing a logo, developing a signature offer, and pulling together the best email sequence is wasted if you haven’t developed the connections that make those business details matter.
How do you put relationships first so they can help fulfill your desire to make a difference?
1) Stop “doing social media.”
Forget about the platforms and the strategies. Prioritize the people and the message, not the timing of Tweets and whether posts with pictures reach more people.
2) When you visit a social media site, be sure to make at least three comments on posts created by people you’d like to to know better.
Don’t take this as a free pass to lose yourself in YouTube for hours – make these interactions strategic! The goal is to strike a balance between being a generous reader/commenter and being a dedicated contributor/creator.
3) Take time to “remember your why” when you’re connecting to people.
Don’t just gravitate to the internet superstars. Develop relationships based on shared values and interests. You’re online because you see how this time and energy investment can benefit your business.
4) Leave room for some relationships that don’t seem to have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Yes, this means that you need to continue to make time for your family and friends, but it’s also about meeting folks who aren’t necessarily part of your target audience. Place value on the relationships with people who inspire you and make you think – who knows what magic a real friendship like this may spark down the road!
Overwhelm comes standard with just about any smartphone contract these days. Just remember, you can use your digital devices to develop real relationships that nurture your business and your greater mission, not just improve your Klout score.
So much of what I’ve learned about building relationships, finding balance, and doing the work that matters has come thanks to the inspiring entrepreneurs and visionaries I’ve met online. Eleven of these inspiring business owners will be sharing their insights at the free Connection Without Overwhelm teleseries that runs October 15 – 24. Please register to join us: www.OnlineEmpowermentSeries.