Tips for Entrepreneurs: Let business happen

It's all about blogging and social networking.

Google plus 311 (photo credit: REUTERS / screen shot)
Google plus 311
(photo credit: REUTERS / screen shot)
As I write this, I’m sitting on an airplane heading from Tel Aviv to New York City. The man next to me is a respected hassidic rebbe, and the man in front of me is reading The Jerusalem Post, January 16, 2012, page 17.
Why is that so important? Because he’s reading my column, to be specific. (I snapped a photo before introducing myself. He complimented me on the article, too... such a good man.) That brings me to this column. It’s about two things: blogging and social networking.
“Now I get how important it is to blog, but may I write using a pen name? I’m uncomfortable using my real name.”
It’s a question I hear a lot.
My response: “If you want to pay for years of therapy, go for it. Sit on the couch and start reliving the experiences you had growing up... the bullies from school, the time you were punished for someone else’s wrongdoing, and get it out of your system that way, in private, in secret. Then go your way feeling like you just relived it all, because you did. And you will relive it every time you tell it. There will be no room to find a new path because you are living in the past and walking down a path you have already trod.
Or you can use your real name and learn and grow and benefit from others growing and learning from the same things.”
Blog about your life, your passions, your dreams, your fears or your business and your dreams. But be careful.
What you blog about will attract other like-minded people.
If you blog about the misery in your life, you will attract readers with misery. If you blog about business, you will attract other business people. That is blogging in a nutshell.
Social networking
Clients tell me they’re not a “networker.” I tell them: “Hide behind the computer, and use LinkedIn. But don’t just wander aimlessly on LinkedIn... rather, get in touch with someone who can be helpful to your business, and offer them lunch. That way, you have to actually MEET (shudder!) someone you don’t yet know and expand your horizons and let business happen.”
Every time you interact with another person, you are creating an opportunity for business to take place. Be proactive and reach out. Do this once a week, and in just a month you’ll have four new contacts you’ve made directly.
You will have entered each of those people’s networks, which brings you into the circles of many thousands of new prospects. Now they are also closer to you and interacting with you. That’s not so hard is it? Four new worlds of people for that return on your time? Most people on LinkedIn who specify that they are interested in introductions do so because they are aware of the opportunities that often come with being part of that community.
They are not hermits, and many of them have similar challenges to your own. So you are among like-minded folks! Why not solve your problem, and theirs, by reaching out to them? And to put a twist on it, even an action like penning this column is a form of networking. You and I have quite possibly never met, and yet you “know” me. I’ve gotten referrals to major clients from people like you who read my stuff and checked me out. Then, when they were asked if they knew about a marketing genius who really knew what he was doing, they recommended me. They were convinced enough from knowing me via my articles, or on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter), that they felt comfortable enough to vouch for my expertise, my PhD from the “college of hard knocks” (“life” to you who don’t get the idiom) and a lack of a formal college degree notwithstanding.
Any time you write or interact in any way with people that makes them consider your words, or sparks a thought in their mind, or gives them an idea or an answer to their question, or a solution to their problem, you have bonded, connected and networked. It is that simple and easy.
In essence, social media is a form of networking that enabled geeks and the bashful to be successful in getting a job, moving a product or getting in front of the media like the extroverts always did. Remember, social media is a viable alternate route. You can go far with your online communities, but you need to eventually get back onto the main highway (Yeah, they did add lanes since you were a child...) and into the real, off-line, world. The faster you understand this and make the effort needed to enable yourself to succeed, the faster you will succeed.
Take two simple steps today.
One: Introduce yourself to someone on LinkedIn.
Two: Introduce yourself to someone you meet on the street, in a coffee shop, at a friend’s house, in a place of business – your own or someone else’s. Give them your name. Say hello. Be friendly. Say something positive and ask them a question about yourself.
That’s it. Social networking is just another name for “making friends.” You can do this. I know you can. So go! The rest of this story? When I went through immigration, the same gentleman came over to me yet again and complimented me. I handed him some more information about me, and now I have a new friend. Will that turn into new business? Time will tell. But I did mine! Will you do yours? [email protected]
Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.