The term ‘Other People’s Money’ is a common saying in business circles, yet few people really grasp the significance of what it means. In this week’s lesson I’d like to share with you three “OP’s” that can help any business when thinking about how to grow and expand.
#1. OPM: Other people’s money. Yes, the classic term, but here’s why it’s important. If any business or non-profit wants to grow and scale, it simply must have access to capital. If marketing is the oxygen of the organization, then cash is the blood which keeps the body moving and functioning properly.
If you’ve been in business for a while you may know this. If you’re just starting out, you’ll quickly realize how important cash flow is as it will either allow you to grow, or hold you back from the chance to act on new opportunities and serve more people. In the age of the Internet, there are many options available for seeking out and finding capital beyond the traditional routes of 5-10 years ago.
#2. OPC: Other people’s credibility. We live in an age of celebrity worship. To deny this is foolish and if you need proof, either check out the flood of ‘reality TV shows’ or pick up any magazine at the check-out stand the next time you exit any grocery store to see visual proof before your very eyes.. With that in mind, it’s amazing how many people do not fully leverage third party endorsements with local or industry celebs that know, like and already trust them.
A commonly overlooked way to leverage OPC occurs with businesses and non-profits that have well respected clients or business associates that do business with them. In the non-profit world, it’s leveraging key donors and firms that currently support the cause. By asking and getting testimonials from these key stakeholders, it helps to not only build a solid reputation, but it also builds something even more difficult in the age of intense distrust of any marketing related messaging: trust.
#3. OPR: Other People’s Rolodexes. Business is and will always be about networking. In many cases, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. Call it unfair, but it’s something that smart business and non-profit leaders leverage and use each and every day to catapult them to greater success and higher profits.
With the intense costs of time and dollars spent on traditional marketing, the smartest way to move ahead of the competition and get things done faster is to utilize the power of other people’s contacts. Once trust has been established, the simplest thing to do next is simply ask your best clients, and referral partners for “introductions” to people within their networks. This is infinitely easier than ever in the age of email and social media where peoples Rolodexes are blanketed all over the Internet, especially within their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
Now, there are many nuances to this, but I share this simple strategy of asking for “introductions” (aka: referrals) because so many people either never get around to asking, or they chicken out and simply don’t ask. I’m not kidding with the last statement. I’ve been in sales and marketing for over 20-years at a wide range of levels and I still see it day after day with countless clients from all sorts of businesses and non-profit organizations. Remember: you don’t get, unless you ask!