We’re told that one of the first steps in thinking about any new business is to write a business plan. Out of this you’ll get to see how viable (or not) the business you want to build is. Books and books are written on how to write a great business plan. I’ve even got some on my shelf.

The unfortunate part is that many people think they’ll be successful just by writing a business plan. Once they have that hard work out of the way, success will come because they’ll follow the plan.

What the focus on the business plan fails to recognize is the importance of the relationships you need to build.

We nail down our business plans and prospectuses, but we tend to overlook identifying the fifty, hundred, or thousand relationships we need for our dream growth plan to become a reality. – Giftology

Go meet people

If sticking to your business plan means you get to sit in the relative comfort of your office behind your computer screen and not be out there talking to real people building relationships, then you’re doing something wrong.

Instead, check out Meetup.com and find some groups you can attend where your target clients or colleagues in your field will be.

Get out of your comfort zone and submit a talk to some of the local Meetup groups. Submit a talk to a conference you’d like to attend.

Join your local chamber of commerce or Rotary Club and get out to events.

Meet real people in your area and talk about what you do. Ask them what they do and see if you can introduce them in your network.

Send a gift

The follow up to this is to build relationships and goodwill by sending gifts to the people you meet. Are they a coffee drinker? Send them some local coffee or send them an Aeropress if they don’t have one.

Are they looking at getting outdoors with their kids more? Send them a Muddy Buddy for their kids to wear and stay warm.

Send them a decent knife for their kitchen.

It doesn’t have to be a huge expensive gift; in fact, a couple smaller gifts are going to go a much longer way in building a relationship with people than one huge thing.

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If you’re writing a business plan, keep going. Just remember to not do the easy work of sitting behind your screen building ‘relationships’. Get out there and meet people in the real world and build experiences and relationships there. Those relationships where you’ve met in person are the ones that will yield the biggest results in your business.

photo credit: isherwoodchris cc