I suppose this goes for any business but I want to discuss the importance of networking smart, honestly, and with compassion. I am surprised how many vendors do not support each other, often going after the first dollar they see.
The backbone of any business, especially those dependent on referrals is peer to peer support. In times of rough patches, someone in your network should be doing better. When you provide indisputable loyalty, you will see the rewards of that from those vendors.
What do I mean by indisputable loyalty? That means when you cannot take a job, be confident enough to pass it on to someone in your network. When you are overloaded, do the client a favor and pass them to another business, even if they are your competition. Because compassion counts, that’s why. Because when you have enough to turn work away, remember those businesses that are not in your position. Because the walls you tear down will clear the way for bridges you can build.
Trust me, what goes up must come down. There WILL be a time when your competition has the upper hand in the market. There will be at time where they will make the choice of giving surplus jobs to you OR someone else who respected them along the way. The benefits of helping your competition are many. You network, you discuss clients, you create effective products, and you control the market prices together.
Also finding people to network with, strengthens your own backbone. The reason why is that when THEY are doing well, you will do better too (Assuming they are truly loyal). When you help them, they will WANT to help you or they feel they MUST help you back. Bridges build. You get trust and loyalty from them and when you have that as your base, you are effective in anything you do.
When I am asked if I know a great PA, assistant, editor, etc… I always say let me find you someone great. I say this because I know there are many great production assistants and editors out there, especially in LA. But I would want the people that I know to benefit first. They are my network. Where I can help them, I will. This is because I may not be able to hire them at the moment, but I make sure someone does. It’s looking out for your neighbors. Trust me, once you do it…they will follow with a kind gesture. Life is about energy and what you put out there will come back to you.
The next time you are fortunate enough to turn a job away, redirect it to someone that needs it. Don’t let it go out into the world unanswered. You will do the client a favor by guiding them to someone great, you will do the competition a favor by feeding their business and extending a hand. Finally, you will do yourself a favor because what you put out there will come back to you ten-fold. Why not make it positive?