How to build up your business network when starting a business from scratch?

Best practices from our Be-novative Partner Hub

🌐 Starting a new business is always challenging, especially after decades in the corporate world. Building up your Professional Personal Brand is always an exciting challenge, even if you know your own skills and expertise very well. In our Partner Hub we gather forward-thinking people from various professional backgrounds in the fields of leadership, management and org. design consulting, team coaching, innovation, UX, CX and organization development. After a summer break we shared successes and improvements in our professional lives including a challenge we focused on — which was very visibly present in the room.

Our Protagonist of this session is a Corporate Customer Experience Specialist for 22 years, which in itself sounds like a recipe for ‘how to make an impact inside one company and empower colleagues to be a hero and improve their customers’ lives’.

In the newfound venture of our Protagonist, this past corporate experience will come very handy, but at the same time being within one company for such a long period of time invites the questions of how to build up the necessary network of potential clients.

So the challenge we discussed on our session was:

How to build up your business network when starting a new business on customer experience consultation — almost from scratch?

Bringing this topic into our multinational and professionally diverse expert community was a recipe to collect ideas from lots of different angles. Taking in everyone’s insights from our global Be-novative Partner Hub gave us valuable insights and deeper understanding on how this works in the ecosystem Be-novative is thriving in and how even Be-novative might come as a very useful tool in this early phase of business development.

Our process: We have followed the steps of the Reflective Solution Focused Practice and at the end it was not just our protagonist, who came up with this question, but all of us geared up with new ideas, tools, thoughts and inspiration. Elvira Kalmar, our Partner Hub Program Facilitator in the Spark Creativity online sessions facilitated the session.

Creating great customer experience is a mission

First of all, we all agreed that we all align with the mission of our Protagonist:

‘Good customer experience is a necessity to all businesses to thrive and it should not be only one small department with a lonely wolf passionate about CX, but every member of an organisation should become a CX expert to succeed in the long term.

We also agreed that there is still a long way to go in many organisations, so what our protagonist as a CCXP — Certified Customer Expert Professional can offer is highly valuable knowledge, experience and tools. The question remains: how to show this expertise in order to build a client-base?

Here is how we summarized the Partner HUB wisdom in 6 TIPS:

  1. THINK ABOUT THE BUSINESS MODEL. First, you can imagine how you can best support your potential target group: corporates- consultancy, SMEs- maybe a Consultancy as a service. Do you want to take on a monthly fee of membership or yearly rate, or go with the hourly / project-based pricing?
  2. PERSONA’S EXCITEMENT & CHALLENGES. Think about everything you can imagine and collect about the persona(s) characteristics. What excites your ideal customer and what challenges do they face? Talk more about these topics to your own network, make posts on social media and prepare to continuously form your messages, services and value propositions based on feedback and real conversations. Write down all questions and thoughts you continuously have in a specific ‘notes’ section, it might inspire you to advance your messages and services.
  3. GATEWAY VALUE. Sell the first step to your clients as pilot projects, starter workshop(s) or consultation session(s). Engagement and continuation will come next.
  4. BUILD UP YOUR BRAND NAME VISIBLY by presenting on conferences, meetups, podcasts and professional meetings representing a niche topic you are passionate about and expert in. Your niche topic may come from your purpose, or from your notes about what excites your ideal client and what challenges they face.
  5. CREATE A MASTERMIND GROUP out of your potential clients: invite them to a virtual ideation session. Ask them to share and learn together from their real-life current challenges. Share your knowledge generously and learn from them about their current issues, maybe differences, see what solutions and support they might need, and build a trusting relationship with them. This is where Be-novative can come in handy before creating the Mastermind group: create a challenge for CX specialists about what are the biggest challenges of their profession currently for example. Use the platform to ideate and evaluate the answers and share the results and outcomes, discussing openly the priority topics.
  6. VALIDATION. Be brave to ask for feedback. Besides collecting topics, areas of excitement and challenges, share your ideas and ask for feedback from your target clients. It helps your to prioritize what to focus more on but also builds important bridges as people experience that you listen to them. At this step, the Be-novative platform will also prove to be handy.

Let us know if you need help setting up your session, we are here 🥰

Be-novative evaluation session on a 2-axis matrix

While we were working on the challenge of how our Protagonist could start her business, we all gathered some new insights about how else we could use the Be-novative platform. The most outstanding idea was to invite current clients, colleagues and partners and ask them how do we create value for them - so to use it also as a validation and prioritization tool. Another discovery was in a new product launching phase to invite potential clients and gather how the new product could contribute to their life - feedback collection on how the product adds value.

We also felt that the topic of CX might be easily replaced by other specialist topics that should become every contributor’s basic competence: be it organisation development or design, design thinking or business and environmental sustainability.

About the Be-novative Partner Hub:

🌍 The Be-novative Partner Hub is an ecosystem of people and resources whose main goal is envisioning, accelerating and scaling the success rate of both organizational and product development, creating impactful projects and meaningful solutions locally or globally. We share knowledge, inspire people and actively co-create new methods. We contribute to a better, more creative Earth.

The Be-novative Partner Hub members, consultants of people experience, organisation design and development, Design Thinking, innovation consultants and management consultants from around the globe are committed to learning from each other and with each other about the future of facilitating workshops and improving consultation impact and scalability in a remote world, so we focus on finding what works, we are non-judgmental, curious and tentative, rather than absolute in our sharing.

Each participant at our online biweekly meeting introduces the topic or case that occupies their mind and thoughts and chosen the method that would fit it best:

  • Deconstructing success: a new use case or step with clients or achievement in the organisation, that went really well
  • Best practice & wisdom seeking: with a topic to collect best practices, methods and tools that have worked for others within this theme
  • Shopping for ideas: a challenging project to gather peer ideas to figure out how to move forward best

This session was about searching for wisdom but a lot more came out of it, than just our previous experiences. We all got inspired to experiment with Be-novative in various fields we will update you about next time. Stay tuned!

👋 Let us know if you would like to join our expert network or take part in the Learning Community 🚀.

Be-novative is a Design Thinking and Innovation platform that helps organizations build breakthroughs collaboratively. http://be-novative.com @benovative