Most people say that networking across your industry is the way to go to promote your small business. But according to an article in Inc.com, you should actually be spending more time with your friends.
“As the company grows to 20, 30, or even hundreds of people, the CEO must become more discerning about which lunches to set up, which phone calls to take, and which emails to return. It’s no longer possible to talk to everyone, so the CEO must prioritize the best opportunities — the biggest customers, the most important partners, and others with the most potential to have an impact on business growth,” says the article.
CEOs should spend time with trusted advisors, a.k.a. their friends. If a friend refers someone to meet with you about your business, take this meeting, advises the article, before meeting with total strangers. Also, take time to meet with your friends about your business. “Educate them on the things you need to grow your business–customers, partners, quality recruits, etc. Then ask them to suggest meetings for you,” says Inc.com.
Besides making introductions, a friend can also be a wellspring of useful information in other areas. In addition to venting about workplace problems, bounce new ideas off of your savvier friends. They have a better insight to how you handle new situations and stress and can help you come up with solutions that best fit your style. You can even go so far as to set up brainstorming sessions with a group of friends. If you buy the drinks and nachos, you can probably get a good group to show up.
Friends can also be your best promotion via word of mouth. They can wear and use your products, and utilize their own social media networks to tell others about your goods and services.
But remember to reciprocate the favor. Pass on work and recommendations to your friends as well. You want to make sure you’re part of their trusted network of friends as well.