Four ways to build a network of experts

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Building a network of trusted experts, like accountants and lawyers, is a key part of achieving success as a small business advisor. These contacts can increase your value in the eyes of your client. But a network takes work to create. Try these tips to make your network more robust.

Read: Top 5 experts you need in your network

  1. Sometimes, advisors make formal connections through associations and specialized groups, but the vast majority of the time, the networking is informal. When Wendy Giuffre, owner of Calgary-based Wendy Ellen Inc gets a tip that so-and-so is a good expert, she'll call that person to chat, adding that person to her network informally.
  2. Meeting experts at conferences or in webinars is one way to set up informal networks, especially with follow-ups made easy by social-media networks.
  3. Ensure you have a couple of references from the expert, people who can vouch for that expert's experience and reputation, because your own reputation will be on the line. "Don't start from scratch," Giuffre advises, meaning don't use an expert with no references.
  4. The last tip is obvious but deserves mentioning because too many people ignore it when they're rushed: You and your experts need to think the same and have similar values about clients and industries, avoiding many future headaches and building trust more easily.

Whatever your approach, nurture your informal network. As Mike McClenahan, CEO of Benefits By Design, based in BC puts it, remember that "you don't know what you don't know."

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