Build Your Network: People do business with those they know.

I get inquires from between 5 and 10 physicians each week who are looking to learn how to open or run a medical spa. Why do they call me? They know me.

Well, it’s not really me that they know. They’ve seen my picture and read my bio, but they’ve also read what I’ve written about cosmetic medicine and it’s struck them that I might actually now what I’m talking about. They feel a simpatico, a sense that our thinking is similar and a feeling that I’m approachable and can help them. They feel that they ‘know’ me.

Having potential clients or consumers know you is branding. You know Apple is for cool, jeans wearing hipsters. You know that IBM is for big stodgy businesses. You know that Germans engineer better cars and that the Japanese make a science of efficiency. What you ‘know’ about a brand, is the brand.

You’re a brand too and people have to ‘buy into’ your personal brand to want to do business with you. Hopefully your personal brand is honest, intelligent and motivated. People do business with people they know and trust.

Small Business Branding (this blog) lets me write about something I’m familiar with. Those who agree or like what I say read more and either I’m discarded or I become known to that person. If that person has a need of my services, businesses or expertise, who else would they call.

If you own a small business you have a tremendous opportunity to grow your business by building your personal network. I make a habit of using my business, Surface Medical Spas, to grow my personal network. I keep a stack of gift certificates that I give out fairly liberally to people I meet. (I ran out of gas and a cop let me use his cell phone to call my wife. I gave him a gift certificate for his wife. Now he waves every time he sees me.) People feel great and the interaction lets them know who you are. I trade a little employee time for new client that is close to becoming a zelot.

I couldn’t find a networking event that wasn’t boring and over run with salesmen. So, I built my own networking event, Fight Club – the ceo entrepreneur network. I started with three simple premises: No sales guys, no students, no assholes. It’s by invitation only for actual business owners with real businesses. While this precipitates an occasional email along the lines of, ‘you’re an elitist snob’, the participants all love the system since there’s no sales and no pressure. You come if and when you want, you buy your own dinner, and you go. Huge success. (I should mention that anyone, including students and sales guys can come, they just have to be invited by a member.)

Everything’s an ‘ole boys network’, even if the old boys are 23 year old liberals.
To butcher a quote, “It’s not what you know or even who you know, it’s who knows you.”

LinkedIn is another networking tool. (my linked in profile). If you aren’t on linkedin, join. The memberships free.

jeffbarson

Jeff Barson is a serial/parallel entrepreneur. He has founded an advertising agency, publishing company and several other internet-related businesses in addition to Surface Medical Spas. He loves the world of innovation and ideas. He formed Surface Medical Spas in 2000 and has grown Surface from one part-time clinic to 5 clinics in two states with revenue growth of 5000%. He councils physicians and businesses around the world on the emerging revolution in cosmetic medical businesses and delivery systems.

Managing Partner & CEO, Surface Medical: surface-med.com
Founding Partner & CEO, Nimble: nimbleit.com
Owner, Renaissance Man Publishing: ren-man.com
Founder, Fight Club CEO Network: fightclub.squarespace.com
Owner, Wild Blue Creative Partners: wildbluecreative.com
My Linked In Profile: inkedin.com/in/jeffbarson/

My other blogs:
medicalspasonline.com
nimbleit.squarespace.com
fightclub.squarespace.com

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Comments

  1. Very true, contacts and getting to put your name as an established leader in a field can draw a lot of businesses.

    We have a blog in our site that small and medium size businesses could use. It is marketing tips for bringing in more revenues. It can be found at http://www.globalintgra.com/blog

  2. People makes business with people, no matter if we are talking about business to business, at the end human beings make the decisions in the name of the company.

    Branding is essential for the required confidence and trust. The mastery comes when your contacts become “fans” because you deliver a lot of value through contact, information, service… in my opinion that’s the next step.

    Short but sharp article. I liked it very much.

  3. True, people do business with those they truly trust. We all do. Even if it’s just simple transactions, we prefer communicating with those we know.

    That is why networking only happens between people who not only know each other but trusts each other. In the business world, we all prefer to be surrounded, either with clients or business networks, with those we truly know. It sets up the feeling of security and confidence. This is why most business people tend to build strong relationships, not only with their partners and clients but also with those who are part of their network.

    Thank you for your wonderful article. Hope you post more.