To grow and prosper your small business a network of core advisors is a valuable tool. Who you know and whom you surround yourself with are critical in building that “circle of competence.” For some this is intrinsic and comes organically, and for others graduate school and excellent networking skills have proven fruitful avenues for collecting the right people to succeed and succeed well.
“I surround myself with intelligent people who are successful in their own industries,” says Seth Levin, Associate Broker for Prudential Douglas Elliman. “In this economy it’s very important to have people you can filter good information through. Good information is more valuable that it’s every been.”
No matter what business you’re in; a lawyer, an accountant and someone who also works in your industry are a good jumping off point for starting your circle.
Stanley Wong of beastsocial, an event planning company works primarily on the public relations, event, and social networking side of real estate. For Wong its bringing key brokers, developers, lawyers and designers into his circle. Wong has worked 15 years within the architecture world making it easy for him to network the right people into his circle when he was ready to launch his side business.
Grace H. Ng, Esq. of Triumph Property Group is a real estate broker and attorney and looks to her circle for expertise and business referrals in areas, which she’s not familiar. By being a member of various trade organizations, she has collected other real estate brokers, mortgage bankers, appraisers, artists and musicians, art curators, event planners, media and public relations experts, web designers and branding experts, journalists, a CPA, and attorneys into her circle.
Ng is also big on inviting people out to lunch and is a fan of seeking out “reverse mentoring” to get the right people in her circle. “You may know more about how to use social media to market your new business than a seasoned entrepreneur who is more accustomed to traditional marketing,”
Levin’s core includes: his brother, a corporate attorney for a large multinational corporation, and a client of several transactions who is the managing director of a widely successful hedge fund. Levin regularly consults the general contractor he uses for his real estate investments in New Mexico, and keeps a fellow real estate broker in his circle too for picking each other’s brains and bouncing ideas off one another. “Plus, I’m always passing out business cards and trying to meet intelligent, successful people.” In being selective with his circle, Levin has that much more credibility and confidence when dealing with clients.
Wong primarily uses his circle for advice “It could be a legal question from a lawyer or a tax question from an accountant. Most of the time, we exchange services as favors knowing that we can count on each other’s help in the future.”
It’s quid pro quo and pro bono in Levin’s circle. He’ll find and acquire profitable real estate investments in exchange for expertise. The time invested into these tête-à-têtes have brought in more global business as people recommend their friends, family and contacts to Levin.
Having a network of key players in different industries means Ng doesn’t have to do everything herself. Depending on what she needs, sometimes she pays and other times she barters within her circle. But most importantly, “My clients trust me [and] they also trust the experts with whom I surround myself.“