IT’S a small world – especially so when it comes to business. As much as small to medium enterprises try to carve their own niche, there will enevitably be a little bit of cross-over with others in a similar field.
This is especially evident in the world of business networking. Some groups insist on professional lock-out, others allow a free for all and encourage people from the same industry to find ways of working together. Having been involved with both types of group, the latter set is our favourite – we believe there’s room for everyone in business and there’s no need for hair pulling and eyeball scratching in the scramble to win business.
If we’re all adult enough to see past the proffered contract, we reckon winning business through networking is a bit like joining a dating agency. So what if there’s only one eligible date in the room? We won’t all find him, or her, attractive, and we certainly won’t all have the same outlook and interests, will we? Well, we reckon the same applies to business.
Just as you might want to date someone with similar outlooks and aims, it make sense to pursue business partnerships with people who complement your ethos and objectives.
Still not clear?
Okay, given that us Turquoise Tigers know PR inside and out, let’s use this as an example. We like to have fun with our campaigns; we like to build relationships with like-minded businesses and we like to push the boundaries and encourage our clients to think outside the box. We know what we’re doing, we have more than 45 years’ worth of combined journalistic and PR experience and we’re thorough. That said, we don’t tend to spend hours compiling pages and pages of ‘boring’ reports that will only ever gather dust in our clients’ filing cabinets. Sure, we’ll provide regular updates and we’re able to drill right down if our clients want us to but, overall, we’d rather plough more time into our campaigns and less time on gathering pages of statistics and jargon.
When you look at our client base, we’ve worked with a wide range of businesses who, by and large, have been attracted by our straight-talking, fun-loving approach. We’re as professional as the next PR agency, but we don’t tend to starch our collars.
We certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea… and that’s absolutely fine.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that a stereotypical accountant comes to a networking event looking for a marketeer (apologies to all those funky number-crunchers with fresh outlooks – we know you exist and we applaud you!). For the purpose of this exercise, we’re talking grey pinstripes, polished brogues and a leather briefcase. This accountant wants to attract a very serious client base and is interested in statistics, figures and processes. They have a rigid outlook and believe business is straight-faced, head-down stuff.
Got the picture? Great!
Most networking events have at least one marketeer/PR/social media advisor, but should they all be setting their sights on this new blood? Seriously? We reckon that’s a bit daft!
In no way would Turquoise Tiger be an ideal match for someone looking for stiff, starchy PR. There’s nothing wrong with that approach – it’s just not us. Would they be a good fit for another PR agent in the room, though? Maybe. Would we point this business in the direction of a marketeer who might be a better working partner? Absolutely! Of course, we’d hope our learned friend would return the favour some day, but that’s not the be all and end all.
If we really are to adopt a ‘plenty for all’ attitude, and if we’re going to continue networking with colleagues and peers from similar industries, isn’t it time we all had a serious think about what we want to get from our business relationships?
Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s worth remembering that good relationships reap the best dividends and that, every so often, snatching that ill-fitting client just to stop a competitor getting there first might lead to a really unhappy marriage.
Please do leave us a comment; we’d love to hear your thoughts.