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 No information about this topic will ever become outdated, and you will only get better and better with practice.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
What a great idea for a blog post.
And of course you are totally right – we all need a power base. Thanks also for letting readers know that this is a people business – some folks are attracted to blogging because they want to avoid people (for sure, they’re delusional)
Your point about influecne being power is also right on the money. The more we have of the former will nsure the more we have of the latter.
I really like your exercise at the end of this post. Great idea to use a spreadsheet to track and manage our influencers. In fact, I think I will do this exercise. To be honest I’ve been so busy this year that I’ve neglected people a bit. Now that Easter is out of the way I can allocate some time to re-connect with people who I want to cultivate
Thanks for this practical and helpful post, James
Kim Willis recently posted…How to Turn Everyday Events Into Potent Marketing Messages
It’s easy to forget sometimes, especially when we start automating so much of our businesses. In the end its very important to keep those connections in mind. We may not always connect ourselves with the individual reading our content, but they are connecting with us. And when serious business starts happening, then it really does get to be a two-way thing. I have more automated than ever yet I’m still sending more one-on-one emails than ever before as well, and really getting to know individual members of my audience. That is part of succeeding, and you have to keep in mind that connecting is what has to happen before money is made.
I’m really glad to hear that you’re going to do the exercise. I know most people won’t do it – but those who are serious about utilzing their power base will. It’s one of my biggest priorities and you and I both know the time spent is very well worth it. The potential there is huge when you really develop this!
James McAllister recently posted…The 7 Rules Of Selling All Bloggers Must Follow
Love this James (Can’t believe you’re 19, I’m old enough to be your mum 😀 ). When creating a site or a blog, you will need help. If you don’t have raving fans, then find some blogging friends in a similar position and be each others raving fans. This helps you build your power base while you’re starting out.
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Hey Sarah! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Right on, and it really is that simple. So many people think that there’s some specific methodology to networking and building your power base but it doesn’t have to be so complex. Find somebody, introduce yourself, build a relationship that benefits both people, and go from there. Simple!
There are ALWAYS other bloggers to connect with and other people outside of your niche as well that can you help you with. You can’t wait for them to come to you – you have to make building your power base a priority!
Thanks so much Sarah, hope to talk with you again soon!
James McAllister recently posted…7 Stages Every Blogger Goes Through On Their Way To Success
My goodness you have just opened my eyes to something I never do. I don’t ask others for favors. It’s some kind of inner psychological stuff from way in the past. So not only did you give me a great idea here, but also opened my mind to something deep inside me. I thank you for that one.
It makes so much sense to know our power base. I have several people in mind, but put it on paper and start writing a list…I can see how powerful this can be. I don’t mind doing favors for others. It all depends on how they ask me like you illustrated above. I’ll make the time to review a book or just about anything else for a buddy online.
I am going to start writing because as I thought about my own shortcomings I then realized I know tons of people, and many are great influencers. I think my list is going to be awesome. Of course YOU are on it lol.
Thanks so much!
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I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking for favors as long as you aren’t taking way more than you are giving. I mean there are just times where even small things from other people are tremendously helpful. Sometimes something that will take another person only a few minutes can save us hours worth of time so when we can do things like that for each other, everybody wins.
Definitely take the time to write everything down! Sometimes it’s easy to forget until we have everything in an organized list. And knowing how good you are at networking and building connections with people, I have no doubt your list is going to be extremely powerful!
James McAllister recently posted…Most Bloggers Are Using Social Media For The Wrong Reasons
Dang, you are wise beyond your years young man. I can’t believe you’re just 19 years old. My goodness but I love that you’re sharing this.
Every single person that I talk to as you very well know, I tell them why they need to be making those connections. Through those connections that you make will be those people who will just stand out and be what you’re calling their power base. My definition of those are my besties. LOL!!! They’re SO awesome and all I have to do is ask because they know I’d be there for them in a heartbeat.
I don’t ask a lot from my besties though only because I don’t ever want to take advantage of them but I have at times asked so it’s not beyond me to reach out to them.
I like your exercise because we can lose touch with some of them but I try my best to keep on top of that because they mean the world to me. Great idea though and I think there are a few I need to possibly say hey to and let them know I’m still here for them. 😉
Love this post, thank you so much and I sure hope you’ve been having an awesome week. I’m off to load this post up to share it with my friends now so I’ll see you later.
Hey, I don’t think you can ever really take advantage of someone unless you never plan on returning the favors when asked. I know that you genuinely care about the people you connect with and I know you would go out of your way to help them out. Considering the amount of value you provide I have no doubt you could tap into your power base more often without causing any detrimental effects to your relationships.
It really is a great idea to keep following up with those in your power base, even if it’s just to ask how they’re doing. It lets them know that you think about them, you value them, and your connection is important. I’m using a CRM to remind me to follow up with people at regular intervals and it’s working well – it really makes you memorable because few people go out of their way to reach out to people regularly.
As always, thank you Adrienne for stopping by and talking with me!
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Hi James. Your absolutely right about this being a people business, and a lot of bloggers seem to forget about it. I like your idea of a power base, and that it should be maintained as a win-win for everyone involved. As much as we might like to think that we work in a void, we do need to reach out for help from time-to-time when it really matters. Thanks for making this so clear.
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Right Ben! I went for a long time without trying to connect with people, thinking I didn’t need any help, doing things on my own. I saw everyone as competitors and that was a mistake. We all benefit from working together most of the time, so it just makes sense!
James McAllister recently posted…The 7 Rules Of Selling All Bloggers Must Follow
That’s a great idea – in my time online I’ve connected with several influential bloggers, but never thought to make a list of them!! (Slaps forehead.)
Yes I WILL do the exercise because there ARE times when we need friends online who are more experienced than we are. We can’t know everything in this vast online world, and a friendly expert to run something past is a real bonus.
As you may remember I got into a mess with a hacked blog recently and was really touched by how many people offered help and advice. I sure hope they have me on their “lists” as I’ll be very happy to help out and return the favor if they need anything.
I like the idea of giving before you ask, because I’m always very hesitant to ask.
Funny, but lovely, how I can feel so closely connected to, and care about, so many people I’ve never actually met – and probably never will.
Have a great weekend. Joy – Blogging After Dark
Hahaha it was a long time before I made a list too. But I just kept connecting with more and more people, and I wanted to keep everything organized. Started out with a spreadsheet (which does work pretty good) but now everyone’s in a CRM.
The truth is that we all have our specializations and leveraging those of other people builds an incredibly powerful team. Not to mention, there are times when others can just help with something small that really has an impact.
I feel the connection thing, I really do. My blogging friends are the closest thing I have to a family. And I’m glad to have all of you in my life! Maybe sometime I’ll have to do a bit of traveling and meet up with some others… it could be fun!
Always nice talking with you Joy!
James McAllister recently posted…Most Bloggers Are Using Social Media For The Wrong Reasons
The idea of power base is really brilliant and it equally applies in offline world.
Why we sometimes be definite on success of an entrepreneur because we know how stronger is his power base.
There are two main things to make someone be successful in his venturing. One is his forte and the other one of the support of people around him.
I once read somewhere that those who really do something great in this world can never live alone nor their love to work alone and they are actually people’s people.
Many thanks for sharing this very informative post.
Have a great rest of the week
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