Feed Your Family First: why it is important to build and nurture an immediate and extended ‘business’ family

It makes sense today more than ever before to develop a “network” of professional friends that help you grow in business; whether that is solely through involvement in a business organization, such as a Chamber of Commerce or a networking group, or whether that is from involvement in a combination of business organizations, trade associations and social groups. I think we can all agree that building a robust network of people you know, like and trust is essential in life and in business but being mindful of “feeding” that family is something that can’t be overlooked. I was recently reminded (by my son’s 5th grade teacher) of the importance of FOCUS…and I happened to translate that into a new awareness of how I need to focus on “who” my immediate family is and to continually nurture them.

Some of them are super easy to identify and I’m pretty sure my “friends” on Facebook (personal & business pages) could easily identify who my closest 5 or 6 “business family members” are just from the love/posts I give them but it can get a little tricky when you belong to multiple Chambers of Commerce (with different degrees of involvement), belong to or run/sit on boards of organizations and groups and have dozens (or 100’s) of life-long connections and friends! I got to thinking “WHO” is my immediate family, WHO is my extended family and WHO should I feed first? It wasn’t as hard to identify them as I thought and it’s been very rewarding having this new awareness. We can all agree on the fact that there is only so much time and energy and how important it is to stay in balance–so being aware of the fact that we can’t help everyone all the time and knowing there have to be some boundaries is essential. Just giving myself the permission to identify who, for different reasons, is my immediate and extended family makes it easier to balance my time and energy.

There’s such a beautiful and rewarding satisfaction that comes from helping others and watching others helping others that I am now just more hyper focused on the whole process of how we are so much “more” when we consciously “help” each other rather than when we are living in silos. It seemed fitting to share a success story or two that exemplifies this “family” idea with the amazing RISBJ audience with hopes that you will be inspired to start focusing on building and nurturing your business family too!

Success story #1: Wildwood Catering! Sometimes our families overlap and in the case of Wildwood Catering there’s a lot of overlapping going on…we’ll begin in 2011 with an idea from a woman, mother, wife, poet, restauranteur, realtor, and friend of adding a catering business to their restaurant group that had a “hyper-local” mission. Fast forward to one year later and a celebration/launch party where the 4 Chambers of Commerce that she belongs to, the professional women’s networking group she belongs to, the DoJo she works out at, the multiple businesses her business partners with regularly, as well as dozens of friends & family came together to help promote, volunteer time and show up to support this idea that has now grown into a successful and very tangible business…

Success story #2: Sven Perspectives – Photography by M. Sven Oltedale! A realtor decides he wants to turn his photography hobby into a business…he hears about an opportunity from an extended “family” member and comes to a launch party/celebration of a catering company to capture the event and to officially kick off his photography company. He makes a deal with the start-up catering company, does an excellent job and from that event he makes connections that develop and deepen into strong relationships…he adds to his family and has his first photography show scheduled for next month, along with multiple jobs lined up.

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Happy fall to all!


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