Serendipity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.” When this happens we consider it a happy coincidence. You are looking for someone who specializes in social media to help your business and you strike up a conversation at your son’s soccer game only to learn the supportive parent next to you every Saturday does just this for a living.
We tend to write these things off as fortunate happenstance, but with three simple steps you can accelerate this process to make more and better connections and drive your business forward even faster.
1. Be purposeful about your networking and social time. Put yourself in places where you not only hope to bump into a beneficial contact but that you actually increase your chances of this happening organically. A coworking space is a great example. A coworking space, such as Hub 925 in Dr. Phillips is a community of professionals, comprised mostly of startup companies, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. By working even just a few days a week alongside like minded professionals, you increase your chance of meeting people who hold valuable business connections. Social and networking events organized by coworking spaces, the local chamber of commerce and professional development groups provide a wealth of potential connections. Instead of waiting for a happy coincidence to occur, go make it happen!
2. Learn to recognize opportunity. Often times we go to a networking event, have a conversation and when the person doesn’t look like a potential customer, we move on. When you get into a conversation, train your brain to ask “how can I help this person” and “how can this person help me?” It is important to note that you have to genuinely care about helping the other person or you won’t really get very far. People are quick to recognize the obnoxious out for yourself networker who works the room like a fisherman trying to fill his net. Be genuine with your conversations, and give thought to how you can provide value to the other person.
What’s more, think not only in terms of “can this person be a new customer for me”, but also “can this person put in in front of potential customers?” Often times the best connections don’t even end up being clients but can introduce you to clients. (See case study below)
When it comes to making connections, don’t just wait for the light bulb to go off, look for the on switch!
3. Make a Plan. When you think of a potential connection and about how you might help each other, suggest a plan of action. Set a follow up appointment. Tell the other person how you might be able to help them. Wasting a serendipitous opportunity is like letting the fruit die on the vine. It’s not enough to have a conversation and hope something comes of it. Make a plan and follow through.
Serendipity Case Study:
A local coworking space, Hub 925, decides to host professional development workshops to support their community of coworkers and attract potential customers. (#1 Be purposeful). During a seminar on social media strategy, Hub 925 Co-owner Piper Hood strikes up a conversation with local event planner Dawn Steeger of J and D events. After a short conversation it seems Dawn is not a great fit for coworking but in the course of the conversation, the two women hatch the mutually beneficial idea of hosting a “Wedding Stroll” in Dr. Phillips with J and D Events serving as the event planner and promoter and Hub 925 serving as the home base for the event. (#2 learn to recognize opportunity). This gives J and D events a foothold into the exclusive Dr. Phillips area and Hub 925 the opportunity to show off their venue for Bridal Showers, Rehearsal Dinners and Special Events. After a few planning sessions (#3 Make a Plan), the Dr. Phillips Bridal Stroll at Plaza Venezia is off and running.
Sunday July 31st, Hub 925 will be at the center of the first ever Bridal Stroll in the exclusive and popular Plaza Venezia. Brides- to- be will enjoy a bridal shower/bachelorette party set-up in Hub 925 (showcasing Hub 925’s event side); access to over 30 businesses who can help make their wedding dreams come true; and food, dessert, beverage and cocktail tastings.