Both I and nearly all of the clients I work with in an MSP coaching capacity are in Coventry this week for the CompTIA UK Channel Community event and the CRN Channel Partner Connect event the day after.
Seeing the opportunity to bring everyone together under one roof, I organised the first “World Domination Summit” (well, it sounds more interesting than “Business Networking”, right?) on the evening before the conferences, inviting my clients and a some selected industry thought leaders together in a room.
The agenda? Get to know one another. Share with the group your story, your business, your area of expertise, your biggest successes of late, and the challenges that are keeping you up of a night.
In conversation afterwards, I found that everyone in the room connected with at least one other person that they definitely saw the potential to do business with directly. In many cases, they had multiple such conversations.
What’s more, I heard a recurring theme in the feedback that everyone had a greater appreciation that their own struggles in business were not unique. The room featured businesses from a one-man-band up to multi-million pound turnover established Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) – many had the same challenges that are common, regardless of the size of your business. It can be reassuring to know you’re not alone.
Why you should build a Community for your own clients
My business is working with IT Solution Providers and MSP’s. By connecting them and making them aware of their areas of speciality and expertise, I hope to help foster collaboration and strategic alliances that will help them grow their business and widen their client services.
At my own client get-together there were Google Apps specialists talking with Microsoft Server specialists. Experts in Audio Visual equipment talking to experts in the Education sector. MSP’s specialising in Satellite Broadband talking to MSP’s who cited rural connectivity issues as their clients greatest challenge. All businesses that can benefit from knowing where to turn if their own clients ask them for expertise outside their core competencies.
But I believe the principle works for any business. If you are an MSP yourself, by bringing together even a subset of your clients to get to know one another and discuss business, they will each build valuable new relationships, and in turn this will strengthen their own relationship with you.
Invite your clients to network
You can start small. Most of us attend business networking events regularly. Why not invite two of your like-minded clients to join you at the next event? As well as getting to know one another, you’ll have an opportunity to introduce them to others in your wider business community.
As you become more comfortable doing this, give some thought to those of your clients who work in similar industries. Estate Agents may benefit from meeting Facilities Managers. Plumbers may benefit from meeting Electricians. The list goes on. Once you start to think about it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t connect more of your clients sooner.
Be The Connector
It’s a great way of adding considerable value to your clients, and they’ll remember you for it.