Warmth, Resilience and Growth

by Doug Bruhnke

Most of us wish to grow our business, but the world can be a cold, uncooperative place. So, at Global Chamber®, we provide warm introductions every day for members to gain new clients, assisting them in their growth across metro regions and borders. Warmth means we know who we’re introducing, and it’s a thoughtful connection. That all helps ensure that more than 90% of the time there is a conversation, and isn’t that what any of us needs to have a chance at a sale? We just need the chance to speak with top executives at growing firms that have needs, and as we fully uncover those needs, we have an opportunity to offer our products and services. Successful firms usually screen out cold calling — so, getting introduced through trusted connections is usually the best and most productive way to grow. That’s why our trusted network is more highly valued than ever as we all seek more success in 2022, no matter what COVID throws at us.

Besides working through a warm, trusted network, I’d also like to recognize the need to be resilient all along the way. That means each of us needs to keep learning and finding new ways to be successful, especially as technology evolves — using artificial intelligence and more. Doing the same thing as pre-COVID or last year or often doesn’t work anymore, creating frustration, lack of productivity and suboptimal performance. Open, creative and resilient minds are what will get us from here to there. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much more than stopping for a moment and doing something very simple. 

Case in point, the two sneakers shown here. There’s quite literally a painful lesson that relates to the key business issue of asking for help. Would you believe that both shoes shown here are left-footed, size 12? Do you see a difference? The one on the left is a New Balance size 12 sneaker that I’ve worn for the last three years. I convinced myself that these were the best shoes — and so I lulled myself to sleep despite having more and more foot and leg pain as time passed. With COVID, I delayed a hip replacement surgery and along the way assumed that I had the best sneaker for my feet, but that was a wrong assumption without asking for help from the right people.

The shoe on the right is my new size 12 sneaker from Nike, noticeably larger — and causing no pain when I wear it. Last month, I finally stopped by Dick’s Sporting Goods with my N95 mask to measure my feet and get help with the best shoes for me. It worked! The larger Nike size 12s are “just right,” and they feel AMAZING. I want to wear them all the time. Thank you, Dick’s and Nike! It took me to stop, not be controlled by my bad assumptions and, ultimately, ask for help, despite all the comings and goings of COVID. The smaller New Balance size 12s had been too small for my feet, and the arch support was not effective, causing pain in my feet and legs. 

I’ll bet you can relate to this issue for your own business. We can get lulled into believing that the current reality is unchangeable, as we wrestle with alligators and other business issues. 

Everyone is too busy. Too busy to stop for a moment and do the right thing? Sometimes reaching out to the right expert for help changes everything in a good way. Another factor is, many of us have been taught that asking for help is a weakness. But you know what? That’s not true. Not revaluating from time to time, and not asking for help along the way is the weakness. That’s certainly an occasional weakness for me, and I see it in others from time to time, too!

At least nine of 10 exporters I speak with have holes in their international activities and don’t ask for help. Ouch! Part of that is being busy, and part may also be the issue of being numb to the fact that things could be much better with a tweak here or there. Hey … Who am I to judge … I wore the wrong size shoes for three years!! The analogy stands, that sometimes something very simple can be done that makes a big difference.

The opportunity is there, because 85% of new business in the next five years is estimated to be outside the U.S., and usually more than 99% of new business is outside your home metro. Yet fewer than one of 100 U.S. companies exports, and most companies have incomplete sales networks for success in other metros and countries, despite all that opportunity! There is SO much! Therefore, in 2022 I encourage all of you to be an extraordinary global leader and ask for help. It’s an art very much needed in challenging and amazing times like today. 

Warmth, resilience and growth are all intertwined. Don’t forget to ask for help, too. All these are important to consider for a successful 2022 and, we hope, a best year ever.

Doug Bruhnke is founder/CEO at Global Chamber®.

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