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Personal Branding 101: Four Reasons Investing in Others Can Help You Build Your Business

Many of you are familiar with Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of the worldwide networking organization BNI. I had the privilege of co-authoring a book with Dr. Misner a few years ago, and had the opportunity to learn more about him and his philosophies. One of his cornerstone tenants is that “Givers Gain” – in other words, investing into others is the best way to pursue your own interests, as well.

And while Dr. Misner’s philosophy is focused primarily on business networking, I’ve seen over the years that investing into others is an incredible way to grow your own business in general. Below are four reasons that this is the case.

1) “Proving” that you care builds real relationships. It is one thing to pay lip service and tell people that you care. It’s quite another to roll up your sleeves and prove it. Whether you’re working with a local non-profit organization or helping a fellow business owner polish his strategy, dedicating your own time and expertise makes a real impression. And you can bet that the person or organization you help will be looking for an opportunity to return the favor.

2) Helping others is a great way to demonstrate your own abilities. You are good at what you do, right? That’s why you started a business of your own. But how can you prove your talents to the rest of the world, particularly if you don’t yet have a long list of clients? Donating your time and abilities to individuals and organizations that need help is a great way to “show off” your abilities. Do a great job and you can bet others will take note – and think of you when they need your services!

3) You never know what inspiration you’ll get from new experiences. It is amazing how many ‘light bulbs” can go off when you put yourself in an unfamiliar situation. Working with others offers you the opportunity to view challenges and opportunities from a brand new perspective, and you never know where the next valuable insight will come from. That doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to every opportunity that arises, but make it a point to get involved in projects that take you outside of your everyday routine.

4) We’re all in it together. Finally, remember that business is not a zero-sum game. It’s in your best interest to have your business surrounded by thriving individuals, families, and businesses. So the work that you do in your community can pay real dividends for your business—although admittedly it doesn’t happen overnight. Look for opportunities to invest into your community at large as well as your fellow business owners and professionals. Sooner or later, your efforts are going to pay off.

Investing into others is the right thing to do, but it’s also good business. And it’s one reason I’m so proud of our clients for donating the royalties of their book purchases towards Entrepreneurs International, a foundation we created that works to raise money and awareness for charitable causes.

So the next time that the opportunity arises for you to make a difference in the life of someone else, remember that helping out is a win-win proposition!