Your Circle of Influence equals your “Power Network” – Not all network contacts are equal

Your Circle of Influence equals your “Power Network” – Not all network contacts are equal

As business professionals – entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and corporate executives – we move quickly to grow our business. It’s seldom we have time – or the choice – to consider with whom we spend our time. We busily navigate through our day picking up friends, colleagues and associates along the way without much time for reflection on how those relationships impact our business and our brand.

We’re busy. And many times our focus is on the daily rush of activity and firefighting, not on the more strategic relationship development activities that should be part of our daily focus.

And I do mean daily. As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

What does this mean? Well, for starters it means that not all network contacts are equal. Your network contains a small number of people who have proportionately more influence with you and you with them. You are their connectors and they are your connectors…this is your “Power Network.” Your Circle of Influence.

These high-value connections are guaranteed to accelerate your business growth and personal success if developed and nurtured on a regular basis.

Who is Your Circle of Influence?

Your Circle of Influence is made up of powerful relationships built on trust and collaboration. Here are some common traits that make up your Circle of Influence:

  • Trusted allies that you align with
  • Shared common values
  • No competing interests
  • Synergistic benefits for both you and your “Power Network ”
  • On-going relationships that get stronger with time

Benefits of Having a Circle of Influence

Similar to that of a mastermind group, your Circle of Influence can have a large impact on the way you do business. Just as “you are what you eat,” you really are representative of who you spend most of your time with. This isn’t just about getting ahead and reaching the pinnacle of success in business, it is also about reaching your own full potential as a business professional by reaching out to others and helping them grow too. Here are some mutual benefits of having a strong Circle of Influence:

  • Constant flow of new, qualified business leads
  • Cross-networking and promotional opportunities
  • Trusted relationship and support
  • Confidence and peace of mind when making referrals
  • More opportunities to tap into an extended network
  • An opportunity to save time, costs and resources with better results

Your Circle of Influence – How to Cultivate It

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be your Circle of Influence. A strong Circle of Influence doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with a clear understanding of your business and a focus on developing mutually beneficial business relationships as a part of your growth strategy

It happens by taking a long-term approach to build relationships. It happens by being willing to serve others before you want them to serve you. When you take this approach, the results can be staggering.

Here are 5 steps to get your started.

1. Know your Business Purpose

You need to be able to articulate your businesses value and what it stands for, your standards around your products and services and you need to have a clear understanding of your ideal client. Communicating this information correctly to your circle of influence helps assure alignment and provide sustainable healthy working relationships.

2. Identify who’s in your circle

You don’t always have to start from scratch when building your Circle of Influence. Think of everyone currently in your network – family members, friends, business colleagues, clients, suppliers, networking groups, associations – and narrow the list by identifying those who stand out as someone you want as a trusted advisor, or someone you want to know better. Then, identify your business opportunities and plan on meeting and developing stronger relationships with those individuals.

3. Identify where the gaps are and fill them

Review your Circle of Influence list and identify who you are missing or who you want to nurture. Do some research and use current network contacts to strengthen the interaction with those individuals. New connections will take time. You need to develop trust. Social media can be a great first connection and you can use your current circle to provide introductions.

4. Maintain relationships and drive value

As we all know, relationships take some work. And the same goes for your Circle of Influence. Develop a plan to cultivate, manage and add value to your Circle of Influence. Make sure both parties in the relationship clearly understand each other’s business, consider how often you will make contact with each person and maintain open, honest, and on-going transparent communication.

5. Monitor, manage, reward

As with anything, you have to keep a pulse on your Circle of Influence to ensure it is functioning the way you intended it to. Develop feedback sources you can consult with to ensure the relationship is working, meet with your Circle of Influence to explore ideas for further building the relationship, don’t keep score – give before you receive and keep giving. Also, don’t forget to reward and recognize your Circle of Influence when and where it makes sense (informally or formally, via email contact, LinkedIn note, lunch or even a gift card.)

Finally, check out the Book “How to Be a Power Connector…The 5 + 50 + 100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits” by Judy Robinette to learn more on becoming a power connector.

Strengthen your business. Produce the results you want.