By Anna McDermott

Stefa Normantas post card“You need to dig that well before you need that drink.” Stefa Normantas, of Green Tree Event Consultants, said this in the 5th episode of Nancy Marshall’s podcast, The PR Maven® Podcast. Stefa was discussing the importance of building relationships for your business. As an entrepreneur, she has learned the value of her network countless times. Whether you have a well-established business or you’re just starting out, the people you know – your network – are central to your success. It is these relationships that provide opportunities and open doors. If you get in a tight spot, you know who to call for help or to problem-solve with.

But like Stefa says, dig that well before you need that drink. You must have already invested time and energy into your network before you can make a withdrawal, so to speak. As a professional, you must give without expecting anything back long before you can plan on calling on them for help. You must put in what you hope to get out.

As a busy entrepreneur, you may think “I don’t have time to waste helping others or being supportive. I have to keep my store open!” But your network is your net-worth. Without tending to these valuable connections, you can find yourself in a tough spot with no one to call on. You can’t be an energy vampire – taking and taking and never giving back. Work to keep your relationships in balance. Always offer to help, even if it’s just being a sounding board.

Nancy mentioned that this approach holds true with media contacts, as well. If you already have a good relationship with key members of the media and have been forthcoming and helpful when things are going well, if something bad happens with your business, you will then have a relationship to turn to that is founded on trust and respect. If you haven’t cultivated a positive connection, not only will it be difficult to get in touch with the media, but you will also be a stranger to them, asking for a favor.

Stefa also gave a tip for making new relationships to keep building your network. She recommends volunteering with an organization that interests you. You will meet like-minded people who share your interests, giving a great jumping-off point to make a real connection.

Tending to your network is a critical piece in your success. Invest in yourself by investing in others!

The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan®, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out.