‘Tis the Season for a Partnership
Its September, its Spring. Its conference season for bookkeepers. So lets talk partnership. Yes, you’ve paid big dollars in partner or conference fees, flights, accommodation, that little black number for the gala events and taken time from your business to attend. You have high expectations of content, of the WOW factor, it’s your conference, it’s all about you. But so often we forget about the..
So often I see and hear attendees who are only interested in the old ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM), forgetting that true partnership involves and the list goes on. You get the picture, this isn’t a one-sided affair, its mutual, it’s a Partnership, an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interest. You partner with these companies to help you help your clients succeed. You agree to undertake certain activities and obligations, there should be a balance of give and take, there are responsibilities on both sides.
Change Your Mindset
So this conference season forget networking, concentrate on partnership, on real conversation and collaboration. Change your mindset to one of partnership. Really think about the word cloud above, use these words in your conversations and look at developing partnerships with the organisers, your colleagues and the trade show exhibitors. Don’t talk problems, discuss solutions, discuss future, talk about getting involved, change the question from WIIFM to how can I develop a better relationship with you. Take some cases studies, or other interesting stories with you, I have a client who has some really interesting challenges, how can we band together to solve them. Think about who you want to meet, research them, what do you have in common, what sets you apart, what do you want to say to them, what do you want to learn from them? How do you want to work with them? Have a conversation and then ask!
Ask how can I help, connect, collaborate, share, participate, get involved, learn from you, work with you.
Spring, a time for new beginnings
The past is like that cold winter, its behind us, leave it there and move on. Look at now, look at the future, embrace the idea of Spring as a season of new beginnings, exciting possibilities and opportunities and think strategically.
- Where is your business headed?
- What problems are your clients facing?
- Looking for a mentor?
- Need more skills or training?
- Who do you want to meet?
Plan your conference action plan and roadmap around these or other questions, use your time wisely, invest in building your partnership, walk in with goals, walk away with results.
Get Social and Enjoy
Be positive and don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Use technology to capture key themes, take photos, take notes, amplify and shout out the conference and trade exhibitors on social media, have some fun, push your boundaries, overcome your fears and really get involved. You will walk away with lots of future plans, maybe some new friendships, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you’ve made the most out of the experience. Take a minute to think about what the organisers and exhibitors have invested, in time, money, personnel exhibitor space, glossy show packs and also the personal sacrifice to bring you this event, it doesn’t just happen, blood, sweat and tears (sometimes literally) and months of planning and development, show your appreciation by really participating.
Opportunity takes commitment, giving and a thick skin
Getting involved takes commitment, you need to be prepared to give both time and expertise in order to succeed. If I had a dollar in the bank for every hour I have freely and happily given to develop my partnerships, I’d be a rich woman indeed! But riches come in many forms. So how can you get involved? Just a few examples may be, beta testing giving you a first look at how new features might improve your and your clients processes. Committing to an advisory board lends your voice and ideas to future development. Using your skills and experience to help others can lead to opening doors to amazing opportunities.
I’ve personally developed many new and exciting opportunities, speaking at conferences and workshops, training opportunities, writing manuals, being seen as an industry leader and asked to comment or write for publications just to name a few. These opportunities have allowed me to travel, meet new and interesting people, form other wider and far reaching partnerships, develop new businesses, educate others, win new clients, develop some wonderful friendships, be an active member of this amazing community.
This community, this overarching partnership of giving more than just taking, of always trying to be part of a solution rather than focusing on the problem, of being committed, of showing loyalty and gratitude has then supported me through some wonderful highs and some devastating lows, this community has truly humbled me. I’ve also been a victim of the tall poppy syndrome, of being shown favouritism, of being given opportunities ahead of others, but you know what, I’m proud to say, I’ve earned everyone on merit, I’ve been a true partner, I’ve gone after what I wanted and the opportunities I’ve identified. I have worked hard, given freely and committed to the true meaning of partnership. Those are my riches.
I will be at MYOB Partner Connect in Sydney and the Gold Coast and the ABN Conference in Sydney. Come and chat to me and if you want to deepen your partnerships but don’t know what the next step is, lets chat. See you there and ENJOY!