Partnership, collaboration, strategic alliance, business adviser… all mean the same thing: someone in the know that you can count on to help you with your questions, ideas and problems as they occur. There are many folks who can help us clear up issues and they may in fact come from some unique places, like:
- Your competition – Other contractors who you see at meetings or even in the coffee shop. What has happened to you, inevitably has happened to someone else. There are not many folks that won’t offer advice when asked for it.
- Your supplier salespeople – They should be considered as unpaid employees and most will treat you as a business partner if they are smart enough to realize that you butter their toast.
- Trade meetings and general training sessions – Go in with a list of questions! These are great opportunities to find out what is going on and to solve problems. People like to assist folks they know: “Brothers in Arms” so to speak.
- Social networking – The 20% of your brothers in your industry that are already on Twitter, Facebook, and other networks already know that they can get questions answered by reading what other folks are doing online and by gaining from the jewels and tidbits that are online daily. If nothing other then to keep you current, you should be on these, especially to see what your competition is doing!
- Paid coaches or advisers – Not everyone can afford this option, but if you go this route, be sure to check with other folks to get references for the best person available in your market.
- Websites specifically for your industry – Trade magazine websites, government sponsored sites, industry sites, etc. We post highly relevant links to such websites on our Facebook page every few days.
What else do you recommend to keep up to date on your industry or occupation?