Specialize and Refer – Grow Your Network

How do you grow your network? That’s easy: specialize and refer. Choose a niche. We all live off of word of mouth, if it’s not your specialty, refer. Right?

I was thinking of writing about this and then saw Rebecca Gill’s tweet. So this post came alive.

Why Specialize?

“Do one thing and do it well.”
“If everyone is your client, no one is.”
“Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

These are the clichés of business advice we all know. Okay, the last one was from my mom.

But the point is you can’t do everything – and do it well. This reminds me of the ‘good-fast-cheap triangle’ tweet my friend Rachelle Wise just sent last week.

Thinking we can do everything is not only delusional but distracts us from the things that really make us money. We’re in business for a reason, right?

If you’re a roofer, be a roofer. Go horizontal if you want, and do HVAC, but don’t start installing windows.

If you build websites, build sites. Go horizontal and make apps, but don’t start making videos.

Do what you know. Do what you can do well, efficiently, and make a profit.

How do you refer?

Knowing that we should refer and knowing how to refer are two different things. If you refer the right way, you’re still providing a valuable service to the client. It’s not losing business, it’s about being that go-to person, the expert, and the well-connected person.

If someone asks me if I do Facebook Advertising, I say,

“Sorry, John, I don’t do Facebook Ads, but my friend Warren Laine-Naida does.”

You can either give your client their contact information or write an email to them both. “John meet Jason. Jason meet John. John wants Facebook ads, I told him, you’re the best.”

This way, you’re making an introduction and keeping your brand top of mind to all parties involved.

How do referrals grow my network?

Referrals work on the human emotions of trust and . Firstly, by referring, I am extending my brand to another. I am saying, I trust this person, you can, too. So be careful about referring to people you don’t trust.

Secondly, if you send enough business someone’s way, they will also begin to refer you. That’s reciprocity. Heck, if you are just a nice person, your network will send people your way. I cannot even tell you how many dozens of people have sent others my way in the last four months.

Sometimes, they come in the form of public tweets. I have amazing and generous friends.

Do you refer, Bridget?

Yes, I refer business out to others when it is appropriate. People do side hustles and I find it is best if I reach out to my friend to see if they’re taking on work before sending them as a referral. Even if you don’t do the project, by giving a referral to your lead, you’re being helpful. That’s the best kind of branding.

Do you see how it works?

Be serious about your brand and your focus. Kill the things that consume too much time. Specialize and refer out the rest. You’ll never regret it.


9 responses to “Specialize and Refer – Grow Your Network”

  1. Bridget,

    Your emails always inspire me, ignite fresh ideas and present new directions to create a clean, streamlined approach to my business. Thank you for making them available!

    Deep appreciation,

  2. This is so true, if you’re good doing something well you need to get that something to other level but don’t lost your focus, if youre not good at something just refer a friend.

  3. This is great advice. As a business owner, as much as you might like to remain in complete control, you cannot do everything. What you give up to maintain it is usually growth (or your sanity).

    As a professional, the same goes for trying to be ‘the’ one stop shop. Facebook ads are not a specialty of mine. The time to do it right for a client takes away from my core specialties and the inefficiency ultimately would cost me money. The best thing for me to do – refer it out.