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Does building your business ever feel like a race? Like you have to hurry up and get somewhere, otherwise you’ll miss out?

It often feels this way for many of my clients, who tend to be very well educated, high achievers, and possessing little patience. They are willing to spend time and spend money- and they want results NOW.

As in RIGHT NOW.

(Or better yet, why not yesterday?)

The place where I see this impatience showing up more and more is in the arena of audience-building/community building. We want fans and followers- and we don’t want to wait to get them.

Yet, in this rush to create an audience, we’re missing some important steps in actually making real connections.

The biggest driver of the web has been- and is- value.

Until we provide value, we can’t begin a conversation.

Once we start a conversation, we need to remember that building relationships online is much the same as in real life- there is a dance to the process, a stepwise unfolding where each person keeps showing up to deepen the relationship.

Contrast this to the way that most people use social media- they post about themselves all day long, but without considering whether any of this is actually engaging or resonating with anyone else.

It doesn’t matter if all you want is a place to share your own thoughts and your own feelings. Yet if you want others to see you, recognize you, follow you- and ultimately purchase from you, there is more to the process of connection than just talking about yourself and what you have done or achieved.

And, as in real life, it takes regular and consistent investment in building your online audience, dancing the steps with them and providing more value. Does the value always have to be information?

Not necessarily. It can sometimes be “been there, done that” type stories, or inspirational quotes, or anything that creates a stronger bond of resonance between you and those people you want to connect with.

Think about the most recent real life friend you made. How did you build a relationship with him or her?

You probably connected at first, and made plans to do something together.

You did that thing, and had fun- and perhaps related something about yourselves.

You both decided that you’d like to continue to meet and spend time together.

And you’ve done- or will do this- enough that you will eventually consider each other friends.

It’s the same thing online.

My thinking is that each of us, as business-owners, might consider adopting the mindset that we’re not trying to build fans or followers- we’re trying to build friends. Maybe not lifelong, do everything together kind of friends- but, perhaps, at least, people we like, who also like us.

Some of the best ways to connect person to person don’t, actually, involve the exchange of gobs of information. Instead, they rest on the idea that we truly hear and connect in the moment, and do what we can to keep the connection flowing as long as its working for everyone involved.

If your race to build an audience feels like a race, what if you stepped back a little bit and considered it more like making friends? You will know, inherently, that this is a process, and one, maybe, that shouldn’t be rushed.

 

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