In any relationship (business or personal), the rewards and costs of initiating or remaining connected are factors worth considering.

Do the rewards outweigh the costs? Or are the costs greater than the rewards? What skills are needed to manage whatever costs exist and are you willing to invest in learning those skills?

In this article…

We’ll look at 5 ways entrepreneurs create and maintain connections  through investing not only money, but time and energy. The rewards are many, sometimes involving discomfort, yet always freeing by opening the gates for both personal and business growth… an entrepreneur’s calling card.

Let’s look at how it’s done…

1– Invest in connecting with yourself. YOU are definitely worth it!

Knowing yourself is the foundation for a solid business. This includes your values, skills and vision. The capacity to be completely honest with yourself helps.

Sometimes we don’t see all our strengths or realize our positive impact.

So, get some additional feedback from some trusted colleagues, friends and/or family. Say…

  • From knowing and observing me, what do you think are my greatest talents and strengths? What gifts could I contribute to the world?
  • Please relate a story or two of when you have seen me at the heights of excellence, performing to my full potential. What most impressed you?
  • What potential business and/or professional paths could you see me becoming great at? And why?

Warren Buffet in the HBO Becoming Warren Buffett documentary says…

“Defining your competence is where you will have your edge.”

He’s a pretty reliable source.

2– Invest in connecting with others to learn needed skills.

Warren Buffet realized early in his career that he avoided public speaking due to stage fright, a skill he determined as necessary. Mr.Buffet enrolled in a Dale Carnegie Course, doing the same exercises (some very silly, but effective) everyone else did to overcome stage fright.

I think public speaking  is a super activity for connecting to current and future business relationships. It’s also about connecting to others who have mastered the public speaking skill and with fellow learners. Triple the exposure to people connections!

Says Mr.Buffet (you just got to love Warren Buffet!), as seen in HBO’s documentary, Becoming Warren Buffett…

“In my office, you will not see the degree that I got from the University of Nebraska. You will not see the master’s degree I got from Columbia University. But you will see the award certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie Course.”

And on the same day he was given the coveted “pencil” awarded to Dale Carnegie students who accomplished the tasks assigned, he proposed to his beloved Susie and she said YES!

Sweet connections all over the place.

3– Invest time and appreciation for transparency as a business model and improve services through customer connection—food for thought (literally).

Research done by Ryan Buell and colleagues from Harvard Business School shows the impact of transparency and the power of connection. They were wanting to find out the effects of cameras on the quality of food preparation.

Here’s the story…

The researchers set up cameras creating four separate situations of diners being served food prepared by the cooks in a real cafeteria for two weeks.

Here are the four separate situations…

#1–The diners and cooks couldn’t see each other.

#2–The diners could see the cooks as they prepared their food.

#3–The cooks could actually see the diners receiving and eating the food they prepared.

#4–The diners and cooks could see each other.

Which situation made the biggest difference in food quality?

If you guessed #3, you would be right. You get partial credit for #4.

When the cooks could watch the diners eat the food they prepared, the quality (as judged by the diners) was better and faster (as judged by a stopwatch)! 

It’s significant to note that when the diners could see the effort the cooks were making that they expressed greater appreciation for the cook’s work.

If you were thinking that the cooks were motivated to “do their best” because they were being watched or reviewed by the diners you are not alone… in being wrong. The research showed that it was the connection the cooks experienced with the diners, not the “inspection”  that made all the difference to them.

I really like that, don’t you? It’s a connection that is more internally motivated than externally motivated. Love that.

4– Invest thought and time communicating your ideas, likes and dislikes to foster connection through transparency.

Through LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, let people get to know you. Start a weekly blog.

Honest, respectful communication invites feedback. Be willing to consider another’s viewpoint. Offer another perspective.

Agreement isn’t required, validation is appreciated.

5– Invest in a business coach you can be transparent with to develop strategies for connecting more meaningfully so your business grows.

A successful business woman I know said that all of the mentors and admired business people she wanted to emulate invested time and money for business coaching and other expert consultation when they were growing their business.

The value of a quality coach who is in there with you and interested in your growth is incredibly helpful.

It’s money invested that pushes you to show up, work hard with honesty, transparency and commitment.

You own it.

The takeaway is…

Connectedness is the entrepreneurial mojo for amazing business and personal growth.

Invest in learning more about yourself and commit the time, money and energy into learning new skills which help you connect with others with transparency and purpose.

Increase your skills with connectedness and increase the business and personal relationship rewards.

See? Connectedness isn’t just for sweethearts on Valentine’s Day.

I’m interested… What other ways are you connecting with others to grow your business?