Welcome to Part II of our series on Relationship Development Strategies for Startups. Last week, I outlined just how your startup’s success is directly correlated to your social ties. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of executing your own relationship development plan, I think it’s important to define some core philosophies you should embrace as a foundation. To me, intent always comes before process, and if you live by a few simple rules, you’ll be well on your way to developing a powerful network based on mutual success.
Four Rules to Live By
- Keep it real: Some of the most common questions I get asked are, Isn’t the concept of a relationship development tool like Mingly inauthentic in its very nature? Isn’t adding structure to growing relationships kind of fake? It certainly doesn’t have to be. Leveraging technology and getting organized can help you better remember important things like follow-ups and birthdays, stay in the know about important life events, and deeply understand the people you care about and admire. What’s inauthentic is trying to do these things for those you really don’t care for, or trying to be someone you aren’t. Fill your network with those whom you respect, regardless of any business outcome, and interact in ways that best suit your unique personality.
- Give more than you get: Make the shift from a short-term transactional mindset, to a long-term relational one. End every interaction by asking, How can I help? If you have knowledge, share it. If you have joy to spread, give it. When you engage with people who you genuinely want to succeed, giving with no strings attached is the most fun and natural thing in the world.
- Be trustworthy: Part of building strong connections lies in the ability for both parties to lay down their guards. When someone asks you for advice or chooses to share information with you, treat it as an honor. Don’t participate in social politics- in the small world of startups, reputations travel quickly, so be known for creating positive value, not gossip.
- Keep your promises: Mean what you say, and show people that your word is backed by an unshakable integrity. If you tell someone you’ll call them about plans, call them. If you say you’ll make an introduction, follow through. And sometimes showing respect for others’ time means honestly articulating your own limitations, to avoid biting off more than you can chew.
Startup life can be a bit crazy at times, so next week we’ll cover some very specific tactics that will help you live up to these rules as you build and scale your network.