In continuing to explore the fundamental principles for business owners who want to market themselves effectively, based upon The 16 Monumental Secrets of Guerilla Marketing presented by Jay Conrad Levinson in his national bestseller Guerilla Marketing and the twelfth secret of Guerilla Marketing is Dependent.
In order to be successful in the business world, it’s critical to acknowledge and respect your dependence on your network. As entrepreneurs we go into business with the goal of independence, but also consider that interdependency isn’t a bad thing. Levinson explains why with the following example:
“My client does not see herself as a free-standing, self-contained, independent business owner. She instead views herself as quite dependent on her manufacturing business, her suppliers, on nearby showrooms carrying noncompeting lines, on the media that alert her to special opportunities and open their minds to bartering time and space for a comfy sofa or two, and on competitors from distant place, with whom she trades war stories and chronicles successes during trade shows. These people are, in turn, dependent on her for information, business and referrals. Everybody is learning that the more dependent they are, the higher their profits will be.”
Reliance on others in your support system, and in turn their reliance on you, is what makes everything work in the grand scheme of things. Therefore it’s important to be a part of a solid network of like-minded professionals who are an extension of your values, work ethic, goals, and sense of purpose.
Partnerships also make for great opportunities for cross promotion, and are very common in today’s business climate, as they allow you to align yourself with businesses that complement your own. However, it’s of the utmost importance to do your due diligence before making a final decision on teaming up; when you are closely associated with another business there is risk involved with someone else’s actions or decisions damaging your business’s image and credibility.
As an interdependent league of businesses, we are all in a sense responsible for the successes of our network as well. For example, if our printer went out of business it would in turn have a detrimental impact on our publication. Therefore, we are invested in their success and also somewhat dependent on it. As another example in a different industry, restaurants are dependent on a network of suppliers in order to ensure that they are delivering a quality product to their customers. If anything in this chain of businesses breaks down, it can have a nasty domino effect that in the end may leave lasting scars on a business’s reputation even though it wasn’t necessarily the one at fault.
Most experienced business owners will attest to the fact that it’s essential to have a back-up plan or at least to be familiar with the other options that are available. As someone who is fiercely loyal to my clients and in my business partnerships as well, I totally understand that it can be a little unsettling to prospect the competition. But to be best prepared, it’s always wise to keep an eye on what’s out there and to listen when referrals are passing back and forth around you. On the flip side, this is why it is important to market your business consistently – you never know when someone is going to need another company to fill in, whether it’s temporarily or permanently. Life is unpredictable, and due to dependency we will all have to shift to accommodate change at some point. Positioning yourself as readily available whenever you are needed will allow you to remain top of mind when that time comes.
Above all, keep in mind that dependency is necessary and can be an amazing thing for your business. However, your circle can enhance your reputation or detract from it, so it’s critical to partner with businesses that do an equally good job. And if you’re not someone’s primary resource, consistently presenting yourself as the next best option will ensure that you’ll be recognized as exactly that when opportunity presents itself.