If we want to expand our message, (and in some form or another we all do), it’s time to turn our attention outward. No man is an island after all. But where do we start? How do we reach out to potential partnerships? How do we grow our audience?
We could focus on likes and pins and tweets and +1s and pings. We could hire a publicist and an assistant and an intern and a virtual assistant. We could network and schmooze and wine and dine.
All of those can and (from what I hear) do expand one’s platform.
I believe there is an alternative.
The Two-Step Plan To Expand:
1. Say Yes
You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy. Say yes anyway. I’m not recommending being manic (been there, done that). But opportunities and magic happen when we say yes.
It’s tempting to say no; to shut the door and focus on the filing and organizing and managing that beckons our time and attention. This is especially true if the people we’re turning down have a smaller “following” or don’t have a clear offer in return for our actions.
Say yes, anyway.
True, it can feel empowering to say no; to have the final word and put ourselves in a position of authority. By saying no we decrease the clutter and avoid distraction. But by saying no we also lose sight of why we’re doing what we do in the first place. And by saying no we often miss out on experiences and ideas better than those we had ever imagined.
Say yes, especially because we can say no.
2. Be Helpful
In a world of me, me, me, me, me it’s shockingly refreshing to hear five little words: How can I help you?
I get it. You’re stressed out as it is. You have your own stuff you’re dealing with, coping with, struggling with. You’re trying to grow your business, share your brand, branch out. How can you help others when you feel like you’re the one in need of assistance?
Remember those five little words?
Every industry is the service industry. You may not know the next step for yourself, but you can always help someone with their struggle. That’s not just good business. Being helpful is good for the soul.
Freely ye have received, freely give.
That saying is painted on the walls of the cafeteria of my alma mater and written in various forms on my heart. I believe it works in reverse as well:
Freely give, freely ye will receive.
Don’t wait for opportunities of reciprocity. Create them.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t ask: How can I help you? Don’t be shy! Let’s make magic, people! Please leave your answers in the comments below.