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5 Pointers To Build A Global Network To Facilitate Your Global Presence

These five pointers can set you on the journey

Michelle Clarke

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World-map

Many entrepreneurs are looking to develop a global presence. This may, in time, lead to global opportunities.

In a period of economic slowdown, it makes sense to stretch ourselves into broader market segments. But how do you do this when the only people you know “overseas” are friends and family? You need a broader network of the right contacts who can help you leverage your global branding.

Think of your current circle of geographic influence – if you were to draw a circle on a world map, how big is your influence? You want to start to stretch your circle. Or, if we’re still using a world map, you want to start adding a lot more pins of places where you’re connected to globally influential people.

Related: Are You Networking Effectively?

1. Smarten up

When you reach out to global contacts, they must feel confident that you and your business will be a value-add in their networks so start your missive by smartening up your branding on your social networks.

Remember that some people may cross-check social platforms so don’t only pay attention to LinkedIn, for example.

Be sure to include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – where ever you have a presence online. Review each of these profiles to ensure that the image you’re sharing with your new global contacts will have them want to be connected to you.

2. Regular research

Business-research

Who are the globally influential people in your industry? Who writes white papers or talks at global events or is the go-to person on another continent? You’ll want to set aside time each day to research your global playing field. Why daily? Because building a strong network is not an overnight activity.

This is a big world. If you want to reach out to others beyond your borders, you need committed and consistent action. In your research you will not only learn the names and faces of people you want to reach out to and include in your contact list, but your global industry knowledge will become up to date, fresh and relevant also.

Related: Liza Clifford On Networking and Building Close Relationships

3. Reach-out across the virtual borders

In my experience, a social media platform like Linkedin is no longer as guarded as it used to be and people willingly accept connection requests.

Influential people usually have many contacts and enjoy having more. Because people connect with people who know people they know, see where you have joint connections with some of your identified people. If the person accepts your request, I suggest writing a short note to say thank you and the reason why you reached out to connect with them.

Be generous and complimentary. Do not, at this point (or at any point in the first few months of connecting to each other) suggest that you might do business together. Don’t put the task before the person.

Relationship building first is critical for a genuinely strong network.

4. Build virtual relationships by giving value

Now is your chance to demonstrate yourself as a valuable contact. What do you give to your contacts each day? I’m not talking about a free e-book or the link to your site.

I’m talking about the content you offer to add value to all the other content that people are giving each other on social platforms. What is your contribution to this collective space?

How can your contacts learn something new each time you post? What can you share that will have your contacts say “Wow, this is an interesting person”? Avoid sharing political or religious issues.

Everyone else is sharing that. Rather, choose to appear globally-minded, culturally sensitive, evocative and potentially fascinating. Remember that giving value is also about engaging with your new contacts content. Appreciate what they share, leave a comment, start a conversation. This is how friendship is built.

Related: How To Build Your Business Like A Boss

5. Combine work with leisure

Holiday-destination

Where are you planning your next holiday? Somewhere local or somewhere international? If you’re serious about building a global network consider setting aside a day on your next trip to connect with some of these people in person.

It needn’t cost too much extra if you budget well; choose Uber, stay at an AirBnB apartment – you know, tap into all these shared economy global networks.

This is an opportunity to let your contact know how much you value being in a global network with them. If you’re done the groundwork of giving value before you meet, it’s very likely that your contact will be ready and willing to put you in touch with others who can help you on your journey toward global presence.

Michelle Clarke is a Leadership, Expat and Executive Coach with a speciality in Personal Branding. A South African by birth, she is currently based in Santiago de Chile while she coaches clients across the globe using Skype and other web based platforms. She is a lover of photography, animals and all things tech. Visit www.motivcoach.com or www.portablepro.me for more details.

Increase Profitability

Leon Meyer GM At Westin Cape Town Shares 4 Experience-Driven Tips On How To Keep Your Team Productive

Productivity is a fundamental requirement for an organisation – it’s the seed that builds a business and contributes to higher profit margins.

Leon Meyer

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increasing-productivity

Productivity is a fundamental requirement for an organisation – it’s the seed that builds a business and contributes to higher profit margins. But what’s the best way to ensure employees remain productive, and happy in their day job?

The answer is simple and highly effective and I choose to sum it up with three short phrases – respect, trust and teamwork.

In partnership with my management team, which consists of about eight staffers across various disciplines, we strive to tick these boxes.

Related: 5 Surprising Elements That Boost Your Productivity (One of Them Is Colour)

In total we’re ultimately responsible for managing roughly 500 employees.

Five hundred employees across several departments is a mighty job. But with teamwork, good listening skills and the right attitude from the top to filter down, any business can run like a well-oiled machine.

I’d like share with you the essentials for building and maintaining a productive workforce, and these apply to all industries, not just the hospitality sector:

1. What’s your definition of a productive team and how do you achieve that?

We need to keep in mind that productivity is a result, one that CEOs and managing directors strive for with their teams. But what happens beforehand in order to achieve that result determines whether it will be achieved at all, and is equally important. I suggest the following to ensure a productive team:

Define roles and responsibilitiesDirection is incredibly important; everyone needs to know exactly where they’re going and how they need to get there, so KPIs are essential.

Often when roles and responsibilities are unclear, things go pear-shaped. I am an advocate for setting clear KPIs, it’s a good way to steer us in the right direction, and in turn helps to grow the business and the individual in his/her role.

Be flexible: Rigid environments are the worst kind, allow your employees some flexibility and the opportunity to be themselves in the workplace. We spend so much of our time at work, we need to be ourselves there.

Celebrate the team: When there are achievements, celebrate them, single out individuals who are excelling and living the company values. This builds morale and is indicative of appreciation, which is fundamental when running and building a business.

2. What has and continues to be your philosophy since managing a large team?

Know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your team’s and leverage off that. Be prepared to learn from others, no one can operate in isolation, regardless of the level on which you operate. Accept criticism and don’t bulldoze someone’s ideas, that’s how you build trust.

3. What in your view are the top characteristics the team look for in a leader?

  • Be consistent – inconsistency screams bad leader
  • Provide guidance – this is key, don’t turn a blind eye, give input and council
  • Listen – always listen intently
  • Be impartial – always be fair
  • Give credit – it builds morale and shows you recognise good work
  • Be patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and remember not everyone thinks the same as you do

4. What’s your view on an open door policy and how does it assist with managing a team and ensuring everyone remains productive?

I believe in an open door policy. It’s essential to build and develop trust. I’m the first to admit that it takes a while to build that trust, but once the team (on all levels in all departments) know your door is always open, and that they can trust you implicitly, half the battle has been won.

I host a GM’s roundtable every two months, just to establish how everyone is feeling and where everyone is at. It gives staff the opportunity to bring their challenges to the table, and I deal with them the best I can.

It’s 100 percent confidential and line managers are not allowed to attend. During this meeting we try reach common ground, and I commit to addressing and ultimately solving the problem(s).

Related: 10 Ways To Make Your Employees 10x More Productive

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Increase Profitability

Why Purpose Drives Profits

If you want to succeed, it’s time to start engaging where it matters.

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Over the past two years, many clients have been extending brand positioning exercises into purpose-driven expressions.

When we look at it, it makes sense given the country’s demographics. With many of our fellow countrymen struggling to make ends meet, brands have stepped in to provide them with a picture of a future worth striving for.

Global customer-centricity study, Insights 2020, led by research firm Kantar Millward Brown, has attempted to understand how brands could drive customer-centric growth as well as the factors that really make a difference. The research surveyed 10 495 individuals in 60 countries, and there are some significant efforts worth investing in if brands want to engage where it matters most, in consumers’ hearts.

The research uncovered that for market-leading companies and brands, traditional value drivers such as quality, packaging, or distribution are necessary, but no longer provide a competitive advantage; most brands are capable of providing these drivers. What is important, are a few critical approaches.

1. Purpose-led brands

The study found that when companies or brands linked to a purpose, 80% of them outperformed the market. Only 32% of non-purpose led brands managed to perform better than the market. 

Related: How To Calculate Gross Profit

2. On the ground

It’s important to engage with consumers in their space and on their terms. Through the use of memorable campaigns, experiential events and activations it is critical to engage with consumers on their turf.

3. Be truthful and authentic

Consumers can smell something inauthentic a mile away, especially when it’s coming from a brand. This forces brands to strive for authenticity in everything they do, especially when it comes to marketing. Building values and principle-based attributes into your brand as a guiding tool is essential.

4. Helping consumers commit

By allowing individuals to attach themselves to a brand with a purpose, it helps consumers personally commit to a cause that they consider important. When a consumer is personally invested, the link between the brand and product or service deepens.

Related: Profit Share for Increased Performance

5. Balancing heritage and modern relevance

There is a continuous tussle in balancing the traditional market, transitional market and the new consumers brands are trying to attract. Keeping the heritage and roots of the brand true to itself, while creating relevance for the new market, is a battle marketers are still fighting.

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Increase Profitability

Need To Trim The Fat To Boost Profitability? Listen To Your Clients First

Jeff Bezos believed that once you win the client over by doing this, everything else will follow – not least profitability.

Marc Wachsberger

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customer-service

Finding the balance between offering the extras that set you apart from your competitors and keeping things ‘lean and mean’ to minimise wastage and maximise return on investment is a tricky balancing act.

I’ve noticed that many businesses try to attract or retain customers by offering what they think their customers want, rather than finding out what they really need, and then delivering that. That’s an expensive mistake to make – and it’s not going to achieve the business results you need.

I’ve also observed that now is the age of the new entrepreneur – the game changers who disrupt the status quo long set by big bureaucratic competitors who think that their customers will just accept an inflationary (or slightly larger) increase every year, just because they always have.

While Amazon has been around for a while now, there’s also an important lesson to be learned from its launch goal, which was to bring the price to the client. Jeff Bezos believed that once you win the client over by doing this, everything else will follow – not least profitability.

How have I applied these lessons in my business?

Firstly, we design our hotels backwards – we focus on the needs of our clients, very aware that what hotel guests wanted years ago is not what they want now. That’s why we don’t offer thing like a turn-down service with chocolates on the pillow. Nobody eats the chocolates, and nobody uses the toiletries – so why should we include the costs of these unwanted extras (and the cost of the staff required to implement them) in the final bill to our clients?

Related: 7 Steps To Optimise Your Cycle Of Customer Service

We do, however, offer free WiFi internet connectivity, free parking in our buildings, free laundry services and either bed-and-breakfast options or self-catering rooms.

Simply put, we’ve cut the fat that nobody wants anyway, and added the value that our guests have said they expect.

Our clients have said that they expect the whole hotel to be a workstation, and not just the business centre in a dark, unwanted corner. So, we’ve put a workstation in every room, with always-on access to the internet. Our hotels are designed with beautiful work spaces that cater for nomadic entrepreneurs and double up as comfortable meeting spaces, again – gone are days of boardroom only meetings, our spaces are primed for work and play in one integrated space.

Our clients have pointed out that they’re already paying for their room – so why should they pay for parking?

Many of our clients stay with us for days or weeks at a time, and have said it would be helpful if we did their laundry. So, we do that for them – and we don’t charge them for it.

Related: Good Customer Service Is About Relating At The Same Level

It’s true that many of our old-school competitors offer a broader range of products and services than we do, but we’ve built a successful business on adding the value that our clients need, removing the costs and extras that annoy them, and keeping costs (theirs as well as ours) under control by cutting out unnecessary frills.

It’s an approach that’s worked for The Capital Hotels and Apartments as a disruptor in the hotel and long-stay accommodation industry, and I’m confident that its principles would apply to any other industry that’s ripe for disruption.

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