Guest post by Maribeth Kuzmeski (learn more about Maribeth at the end of this post)
As the recession drags on and the unemployment rate steadily increases, more and more families are feeling the pinch. And that means moms who once spent their days running a household, reading stories, and supervising art projects are donning their entrepreneurial hats to fill the family coffers. What’s more, many mothers who already work outside the home are starting side ventures as well. Call it The New Mommy Track. Whether they start their own companies for the flexibility or just because they can’t find a job elsewhere, mothers everywhere are choosing one of the most demanding career paths around.
If you’re one of them, here’s my word of advice: Raising children AND running a business leaves little room for mistakes. And that’s why you should make it your top priority to polish up the most important skill of all: relationship building.
When starting businesses of our own, women tend to spend a great deal of time focusing on what we already know. We want to be seen as credible. We want people to listen to what we have to say based on our expertise, product knowledge, and abilities. And there is nothing wrong with that. Trust me, I’ve been there! But that flies in the face of the best out-of-the-gate business start-up strategy, which is placing a focus not on what you know, but on who you know.
As you’re starting out, ask yourself, How many powerful business relationships do I have? If you can list five, then consider what you could accomplish if you had 100 strong business contacts.
The bottom line: For moms entering the world of entrepreneurship, success lies in building business relationships and finding ways to truly connect with everyone from customers to vendors to other small business owners. (Fortunately, most women are naturals at connecting—we just need to put our abilities into practice.)
The connections with the right people and the viral exposure they give you are the reason businesses succeed or fail. Yes, of course you need a quality product or service to sustain success, but getting the exposure you need is the “make or break” factor. So mompreneurs, you must direct your energies to what gets results. Don’t neglect what you know—your expertise or your product quality—but at the same time place a daily focus on who you know in order to fast track your business to success.
If you’re a mom trying her hand at entrepreneurship, here are a few relationship-building strategies that can put you on the path to mompreneur success.
- Create your current and future Powerful Connections list
- Become the Media
- Develop an Advisory Council for Your Business
- Take Your Conversations from Casual to Powerful
- Get Them Talking
- Show Your Passion
- Join a Women’s Organization
I will elaborate on each in future posts showing you how to build these powerful connections that will bring you and your business to new levels of success!
About the Author
Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. Maribeth is also author of The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life (Wiley, September 2009).