I’ve been very fortunate indeed in the fact that I’ve made some great connections with some amazing people. Well, as the saying goes, like attracts like. Through attending networking meetings, networking online, networking with my clients and with connections of my contacts, I’ve created some amazing strategic alliances.
However, as I have mentioned right from the start of this e-course, before people do business with you, they like to get to know you, develop trust as well as, in many cases, a friendship. Then, the business follows.
The same is relevant when creating strategic alliances. As you can imagine, there have been many people keen to get my help to get their product or service promoted to the VA industry. However, before I can put my name to anything, I have to avoid doing the VA industry an injustice. I do this by getting to know the person behind the business, assess their values and ethics; I like to get to know the product or service and how it is a benefit to the VA industry and/or to their clients. I prefer to build a relationship before I then decide if I can put their product or service out there.
Now, believe you me I’ve made some wrong decisions in the past and missed out on some great opportunities BUT these situations are far outweighed by the opportunities that I went with and the strategic alliances I formed.
It took me a while before I had the confidence to trust my judgement in the early years, or even to boldly approach people with an idea. When it came to trust, I learned one crucial lesson, if you have an idea, protect it. You can do this by requesting that the people whom you speak to sign an NDA which stands for “Non Disclosure Agreement”. This means that, unless they have shared with you a similar idea that they are proceeding with already, they are not to disclose the information shared with any third party and they are not permitted to carry out the idea for their own benefit. I have included an NDA template at the very end of this section for you, although you may wish to speak to a solicitor for something that is more formal or specific to your business relationship if required.
What was interesting was that in some cases, when I had an idea of a service or product that could be really useful for VAs or indeed their clients, I seemed to attract the people who could help to make it happen. Either people who had already developed the product or service or people who had the specialist skills to help create it.
In fact, I realised that some of the clients I was providing VA services to had a product or service that, once slightly adapted, would be ideal for VAs or indeed for the clients of the VAs.
Sometimes it meant meeting people or being introduced to people who had created a product or service and then it spurred on the idea of how that could be useful for VAs or their clients. In other cases I asked for introductions to people, or met them via networking meetings, who had the skills to help me create a product or service which would benefit VAs or their clients. Either way, both worked well.
My aim has always included the following:
1. What is there out there that would make the way a VA worked more effective and efficient?
2. What product or service is out there that would enable the client of the VA to benefit in some way?
3. What is out there that will enable the VA to develop a specialist skill which in turn can help him or her boost their income opportunities?
4. What is out there that can help the VA create a passive income opportunity?
You may probably add your own too.
If you can apply the above to your situation and your clients, you may already know someone who knows someone who has the specialist skill to help you to create and develop a product or service for your niche market.
“You may have a client or networking contact who has already created and is running a
service which, with some adaptation for your niche, could work out an even more unique