More than ever, we need to share.
Do you share your skills and resources with your business partners? Often, we focus our giving on internal team members. However, you likely have dozens of business contacts that could leverage your skills during these challenging times. A recent USA Today article highlighted generous professionals with a little time on their hands that gave away their services to needy clients. Watts Wacker is a true Lovecat.
For example, let’s say you have a great business development skill set. You often sell your consulting services, which range from planning to operations. These days, though, you’ve got some free time on your hands — which you fill with sales and marketing activities to fill the pipeline. Think different. Write down a list of all your business contacts from suppliers, to partners, to service providers to fellow association members. Next to each of their names, if you think you can help them with your advice, write down a single sentence about it. Call them on the phone and offer to help, no strings attached.
When I did this exercise, I realized that I could help four of my day-to-day business contacts with no out of pocket investment. For one of my service providers, I offered some direct marketing advice. For another, I offered advice on how to deal with a recently departed employee who was setting up shop to compete with her former employee. For yet another, I offered to network him with two new potential customers. In less than a few hours, I was able to help make a difference in the lives of business contacts I’ve relied on during good times and bad. I felt great, and know that I’ve made an investment in my business eco-system at a time it’s buckling under serious pressure.
From the pages of my book (Saving The World At Work), here’s a classic example of taking this exercise and thinking big: Consorta is a health care procurement company with a core skill set of helping hospitals manage supply chain costs. A few years ago, former Consorta CEO John Strong decided to lend some of his best procurement negotiators to the United Way for a short period of time. Their advice helped this non-profit save almost twenty one million dollars in a single year. Not only did Consorta help the United Way, the catholic hospitals that comprised the company’s core customer base resonated with the company’s efforts to make a difference by sharing expertise. These hospitals all belonged to the United Way, and the goodwill generated by Consorta’s sharing efforts more than offset any time-off-the-clock.
This is my challenge to you today. Find at least two business contacts that your skill set can help. You’ll be surprised how valuable your skills can be, and trust me, your efforts to help will be remembered for a long time.