Team members fist bumpWorking from home rewards you with the flexibility and freedom to work the way that fits your life.

Right?

On the other hand, you can also spend hours staring into a screen, stuck in your own head, wishing for more connection with real people.

Your motivation can roll in and out like the tide. But our Authentic Networkers meetup group shakes up this problem in our Tea and Accountability home business series.

Imagine a diverse group of home business owners – each as different as you can imagine – coming together to share successes and challenges. Some are brand new in business, some have decades of experience, and others work at every stage in between.

The one thing they have in common is: they all work for themselves, from home.

At our last gathering, 20 business owners shared wisdom, experience, tears, vulnerable stories, roars of laughter—and eventually they exchanged phone numbers to keep each other accountable on their next business steps.

The question of the day was, how do you develop strong business relationships?

Here’s how local entrepreneurs weighed in.

Interact in the community and engage businesses from all walks of life. Ask questions about how they started, and other personal challenges they have faced along the way.

– Darnley Greson Jr., Darnit Consulting

Build authentic relationships. Be as helpful as possible. Ask them their story. Be vulnerable with the right people.

– Geron Lee, Living Your Best Life

Support other business owners to be successful in their business wherever possible – referrals, brainstorming, helping them source things they need.

– Sheila Doris, A Home You Love Designs

One must be able to connect not only from a business perspective, but as well on a personal level.

– Tom Vuong, Luv2Travel

I am still learning to do this. However, so far I have been concentrating on giving value and answering questions without expecting a sale. And keeping all promises!

– Michelle Nyilas, CWF Group

Create centres of influence (locally) and via LinkedIn. Align with other successful professionals for personal referrals. Focus geographically and become well known; this gives you the ability to be recognized and build trust.

– Riyad Mohammed, FDS Broker Services

Connect to people and clients through common interests and cares. Be authentic.

– Alex Lin, Lee Chartered Accountants

I like to talk to and be with people who are genuine, honest, and don’t push or hard sell.

– Stephanie Wells, DBO Ledger Pros

Meeting people in person or through referrals works best for me. I’d love to develop a great email intro to support the in-person meetings and help follow-up.

– Jackie Brown, Editor & Writing Coach

Connect with others and make friends.

– Annie Balgobin, Spiritual Networking

Invest time getting to know the individual, their needs, their goals, their mission, vision, values, and how I can help them or who I can connect them to.

– “Trainer Jane” Warr, Communications and Sales Trainer

Authentic, natural connections and relationship building.

– Gina Cajucom, Problem Solving Leader

The bottom line

Nearly everyone acknowledged the importance of putting people first in their businesses. They emphasized giving value, asking questions, providing support, connecting others, and following up.

Gone are the days when you can blast sales messages without engaging conversation!

What we’ve learned from this discussion is, when you develop more meaningful connections with your people – your business will flourish.

– Mia

What do you do to help build your own business relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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