Your success in family business depends on your ability to connect and collaborate with others. You'll generate more revenue and make a bigger impact in the world through collaboration. Learn how to implement these eight tools for collaboration to create your competitive advantage and grow your family business.
1. Practice hospitality. It's one of the most productive tools for connection and collaboration. Invite potential joint venture partners, team members, clients and leaders to share a meal. If possible, host meals in your home or find an intimate environment that would be suitable to have conversations.
2. Plan lunch and learn programs.Invite experts, speakers, and people who inspire others to talk for 10-20 minutes while your invitees enjoy a meal. Create programs for everyone in your network, not just for clients and prospects. Invite business professionals, service providers, city and state employees, educators, volunteers and families. It's an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow. You can use lunch and learn programs to foster a culture of collaboration among staff and others in your network.
3. Make phone calls.So much emphasis is placed on email marketing and social media that many entrepreneurs are losing key phone skills. For example, can you pick up the phone and make a sale? Can you use the phone to open and close a business deal? Do you know how to market your skills on the phone? Can you explain your value proposition in order to form partnerships with another family business or entrepreneur? You need to excel at using the phone to help build your family business and to collaborate with others. Start by practicing every day, five days a week. Call five or more people every day. Your list can include past clients, past employees, past business partners, those within your circle of influence and new contacts. Seek opportunities to collaborate with the people you call based on what transpires during the conversation.
4. Connect to many. Get in front of 20 people at least once a month to share your story and your vision. Overcome your fear of public speaking. Hone your speaking skills and craft your presentations, training seminars, keynote addresses and motivational speeches in a way that will compel others to join you in your mission.
5. Create more videos.You can and should use videos as a means to collaborate with team members, or to connect with others to get buy-in for your ideas, products, services and projects. Develop a weekly system to produce videos filled with great success stories, instructions, training, testimonies, personal histories, calls to action and more. Take the "three videos a week" challenge that I created for myself to help grow my family business.
6. Organize community service projects.Find projects beyond what you currently do with your family business. Working with others to improve the quality of life for others provides one of the best opportunities to collaborate. Challenge yourself and be open to working with others you don't encounter in your business or on a regular basis. Collaborating with others from all walks of life and cultures may be just what you need to spur your own creative thinking and develop leadership skills.
7. Collaborate with the media.Build relationships with reporters, editors and producers in the media. Do not wait to promote your next event or fundraiser to approach your media contacts. Cultivate relationships now. For example, provide missing information or advice on a story just covered. Send informative press releases. Offer tips and suggestions. Call in to radio programs as a guest and offer valuable information or insightful commentary. Radio show hosts will take note, and if you do it well on a regular basis, you may be invited to appear as a guest or to collaborate on a future show.
8. Host live events.Get out and connect. Plan to have at least four opportunities a year to interact with your audience, clients or customers. Hire or delegate event planning that revolves around you performing, hosting or speaking from stage alone, or on panels. Form joint venture partnerships with others who have an established audience and platform, so that you can appear as a special guest.
Make a list of other ways to connect and collaborate to build your family business. Commit to two productivity tools you'll start to implement in the next five business days. Pay attention to your fears, but don't let them stop you. Get the training and resources you need to gain confidence, knowing that through collaboration, your family business will soar.