Finding The Money For Your Business
You never know where your next big lead will come from or where you will make your next great contact. But I can assure you of this: it most likely will not come from sitting on your couch, typing on your computer.
In spite of the power of social media, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact when it comes to building relationships. And the business world still turns based on relationships. One great challenge for the self-employed (and I know this, having had my own business for 10 years) is staying connected to the real world. It is easy to get isolated, and to think you are being “productive” by musing via Twitter or by accumulating “Friends” on Facebook.
You never know where your next big lead or contact will come from, but odds are it is more likely to come from the golf course than the keyboard
Both of those are great, but I suggest you add one more vehicle to your business development repertoire: Golf.
I know, I know. It’s cliché that business is done on the golf course. And that lots of CEOs play golf. Check. Got that. But for entrepreneurs, it is critical to network, network, network. So why golf? Because that’s where the money is.
Case in point: I recently ran my annual Florida Golf Schools in March. In the course of one 3-day school, I was out on the golf course with a group of students – all newbies, by the way, enjoying their first foray into the world of golf – and we got caught in a rain delay. Not a deluge, just one of those Florida showers that require you to duck into shelter until the rain passes.
During the rain delay, two of the school participants got to chatting. One, a philanthropist, was looking for volunteers to work for a charity to which she devotes much of her time. The other, the wife of a successful hedge fund manager, is very active in charity work. A ten minute conversation ensued, a connection was made, and a new relationship was launched. I have since seen each of the women, and know that they are actively working together fund-raising for this organization.
I feel so strongly about the power of golf in building relationships for business that I have recently published a book on the topic – Even Par: How Golf Helps Women Gain the Upper Hand in Business. Why the emphasis on women? Because men utilize golf as a business tool far more naturally than women do, and good for them for doing so. My experience, both as a Class A Teaching Professional, and through my corporate consulting work, had been that women need some explicit guidance as to how exactly to leverage golf for business.
I’ve heard all the objections: golf is too expensive, it takes too long, it is too hard, it’s anti-feminist. Whatever your objections, get over them. The fact remains, success in business is based on relationships, and there are few better places to develop a relationship than on the golf course. Golf provides an uninterrupted (that’s right – no electronic devices allowed for 4+ hours!) window for bonding with a potential client, partner or supplier. That window of time is truly a window into the soul of your playing partner.
Golf reveals personality traits that are invaluable in cementing a business relationship. Things like is this person a team player? What is their risk profile? Do they have a sense of humor? How do they handle frustrations? Those insights will give you a leg up on your competition when the next opportunity arises to put in a bid on a project, to apply for a job, to seek financing – whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.
So go for it. Get off your couch and get on the golf course. It’s where the money is.
Leslie Andrews is the President of Leslie Andrews Golf, a company dedicated to helping women learn to use golf for business success. She recently released her first book: Even Par: How Golf Helps Women Gain the Upper Hand in Business, published by 85 Broads. To learn more about Leslie, and to purchase a book, visit www.LeslieAndrewsGolf.com.
(photo credit: Clubcorp.com)