If you follow my posts, you know that I’m one for pretty outlandish blog titles. Hey, it works— and before you write this blog off and start listing out all of the reasons that those three letters behind your name (or six, or nine, or whatever multiple it happens to be) are very important, just hear me out.
The outdated paradigm
Of course certifications and degrees are important. I’m a perpetual student and a HUGE advocate of continued learning, through traditional educational systems and the good ole school of life. I work in one of the most rapidly evolving industries in the world. In marketing, it’s learn or die.
I see too many people hide behind degrees and certifications and letters, and yes those can be important, but the sole reliance on them is an antiquated mentality.
The most powerful factor in predicting success
In today’s world there is one factor that single-handedly multiplies your chance of success, and that’s SOCIAL CAPITAL.
When I started my business the very first thing I did was develop my team of professional service providers. I talked to enough serial entrepreneurs to know that a great accountant, banker, lawyer, and financial advisor are worth their weight in gold, and I wanted to ensure my business was set up for success (read: world domination).
So did I look for the most educated, highly decorated ones with 20+ years in the business? No, not necessarily. Naturally I checked out their credentials, spoke with some of their clients, and ensured they were backed by reputable firms, but the way I curated my professional bench was asking this question to people who knew them, “How big and how powerful is their personal network?”
Look, it’s 2016, we can all agree that we live in a social world. But when I say personal network, I don’t mean digital “friends” or LinkedIn. I mean when I inevitably need things for my business, I want to pick up the phone and call my accountant or lawyer and know that they will refer someone amazing who can get the job done.
Vice versa— when one of my lawyer’s other clients needs branding, positioning, and marketing strategy, I want to feel confident knowing he will pick up the phone and call ME.
Vetting my professional service providers in this fashion has paid off. In addition to my accountant saving me money on taxes this year, he’s actually MADE me more money than I can count by way of referrals. Sure he’s got his eyes on my books, but he’s also got his eyes on my book of business, and he’s a huge contributor to it. In turn, I push every single client of mine his way, because I know he’ll grow their business like he grows mine and that makes ME look good to my client.
It’s the law of reciprocity; you have to give to get. The stronger your personal network is, the more opportunities you have to multiply this formula again and again and build your business by social compound interest.
I aspire to build a huge business, and I’m not subtle in proclaiming my intentions. It only makes sense then that I have professionals supporting me who ALSO aspire to build a huge business and recognize the value in developing their personal network.
So next time you’re comparing professional service providers, hire for more than credentials and years of experience. Ask them what THEIR goals are. What does their network look like? Check out how active they are on LinkedIn. Are they a thought leader? These can be good indicators that you’re dealing with the right professional who will not only manage your business, but also help grow it.