Every entrepreneur has something called a power base.
Your power base is very similar to your network, but it’s a bit more refined – your power base is those people that you’ve connected with so well, that they will take a given action to support you if you request them to do so.
You can think of them kind of like your inner circle – the people willing to go above and beyond. They are those that not only know you, but help lift you up.
These are the people you can turn to when you need a favor. When you need help. Advice. Guidance. Every business owner needs a power base to fall back on, to leverage, and to propel themselves forward.
To become more effective at running your companies, you need to make building your power base one of your largest priorities. Let’s talk about how to build your power base, and how to make the most out of it for your mutual gain.
Why Building A Power Base Is Important
Before we can really understand how to build a power base, it’s important to know why you need one in the first place.
Blogging for example is a people-oriented profession. People visit your website. People read your content. People buy your products. Everything you do revolves connecting with people in some way – getting your work in front of people, engaging with them, and then taking further action from there.
The greater the connection you have with others, the further you’ll go with them. You can pull them deeper into your funnel and have much more meaningful interactions with them.
This is one of the fundamental rules of blogging, and it is not something that will ever change. No algorithm update, technology innovation, or delivery medium will ever change this fact.
Therefore, you must know how to connect with people. This skill will only develop further and further over time goes on. No information about this topic will ever become outdated, and you will only get better and better with practice.
Let’s Talk About Power
What do you equate power with?
Is it money? Is money power? How about fame?
The truth is that it’s neither of these things. Influence is power. Fame and money just happen to both be great tools to influence people with.
You have a goal. You want to get things done. This goal can be better achieved if you have others helping you. This is where influence plays its part. The more influential you are with someone, the more likely they are to help you carry out a certain task.
You never know what it it may be. Perhaps it’s linking out to an article you’ve wrote. Perhaps it’s reviewing your product. Perhaps its simply spreading the word about something you care about.
As a blogger, you are an influencer. By connecting with other bloggers, you are connecting with other influencers. Being able to influence an influencer is extremely powerful, and this is why networking and building your power base is so important. It is this act that will connect you with more people when you need it the most.
Building Your Power Base
The first step to building your power base is understanding that you can’t be doing this just for yourself.
All connections need to be mutually beneficial. This is why they last. You make friends because you both enjoy each other’s company. You stay with your spouse (I would hope) because you both love each other. Business connections are made because it helps both parties.
Therefore, you need to make sure when making connections that you provide value to some sort of people in some way. If you are wise, you will go out of your way to provide value before you actually need anything in return. This will accomplish two things:
- It will show the other person that you actually do value them, and you care about more than just yourself.
- It will invoke something called the reciprocity principle. This is a psychological law that entices somebody to repay any debts owed. Essentially, if you do a favor for somebody else, they are far more likely to go out of their way to complete a favor for you when asked to do so.
Honestly, this doesn’t need to be anything extraordinary. Giving away a free gift, or even doing something as small as leaving a comment on another blog is enough to invoke the reciprocity principle, so long as you are actually providing something valuable.
Who’s In Your Power Base?
You likely have far more people in your power base than you realize.
It’s not just people you’re actively networking with – it’s your friends, your family, anybody that’s commented on your blog , anybody you’ve ever done business with, your customers, your affiliates, and the list goes on and on and on.
Of course, some of these people will be closer to you than others, and that’s fine.
What’s important is that you keep track of who these people are. Not just in your mind, because I promise you will not remember everybody. No, actually write these people down.
I actually keep all of the people in my power base inside of a CRM, and it’s been nice watching the list grow over time.
However, you need to keep these people organized in some way, so when it comes time to tap into this power base, you know who to reach out to first. You can break this down into as many layers as you like. For example:
- People who would do anything you asked simply because you asked them to. These are people you have a huge amount of influence over.
- People who would likely go out of their way to help you if you asked nicely.
- People who would help you out if there was something for them to gain from it.
You’ll know what works for you. It doesn’t matter. Keep track of who’s in your power base so you can tap into it when necessary. It will save you countless hours of scrambling later on.
Utilizing Your Power Base
There will come a time when you need the help of people in your power base. Again, this can be anything from running an idea past them, to having them review your product, to spreading the word about something important.
It’s important that you do not tap into your power base too frequently, meaning that when you do, it needs to be about something that’s actually important. Networking is supposed to be a mutually beneficial act, and if one person is giving a lot more than they are taking, the relationship is going to fall apart.
If you ask for a favor multiple times every single week, people are going to decide that you are more of a hassle than you are worth to them, and the connection will be cut.
The reality is that everybody almost always acts according to what they believe to be in their best interests. The internet is a large place, and there are 7 billion people in this world. I’m sorry to say it, but almost everybody can be replaced. This isn’t something we should get upset about, rather we should embrace it because it is the reality of this world.
When asking a favor, do not make it all about yourself. If you can identify a benefit for the other person, they are far more likely to go out of their way to complete the requested task.
If I were asking somebody to review my product, I may ask something like this:
I recently released my new eBook on mastering the pan flute. I was hoping you’d be willing to look through it and potentially leave me an honest review on the book.
Reviews help potential readers judge whether or not this book would be a good choice for them, and I would love to use your ideas and suggestions to improve the book for everybody.
I know you have your own book coming out soon I would be happy to return the favor when that time comes.
Everyone wins. You get the review for your book, and Bob gets his book reviewed when it’s released. Bob wants reviews for his book, and knows that you likely wouldn’t do it if he declined your request. Therefore, he’ll likely be happy to review your book now.
The benefit here is obvious, but what if you have nothing to offer? The next best option to is to appeal to a nobler cause – something other than yourself. You may have noticed in that example letter that I focused a lot on how the review would help the readers. This is done intentionally. Bob’s review wouldn’t just help me out – it would help all those potentially interested in buying the book, as well as all of the existing customers.
This sounds a lot better than if I has asked him to review it so I could “make more money,” right?
If you don’t have anything specific to add, that’s fine. In some cases, you don’t need to do anything at all – even saying something as small as “please let me know if there’s ever anything I can do for you” can work wonders. The main priority is that you don’t appear to be solely focused on your own self-interests.
I have an exercise that I want you to do.
First, I want you to create a spreadsheet of 25 people that you know are part of your power base. Write down at minimum their name, a way to contact them, and then organize them.
Second, I want you to contact these people in some way – by email, phone, whatever. Speak with them. It’s easy to go months at a time without talking to somebody even once, but regular contact is important. I assure you that everybody has people that they talk to on a regular basis, and you should be one of these people if you really want to become influential with that person.
Finally, I want you to do some sort of small favor for these 25 people. Get creative. Make an offer, and see what people need.
I assure you when the time comes, these 25 people will be ready to help you with whatever you ask of them…
…and that right there is power!
– James McAllister