25.11.23 - Posted by Stephen Jenkins

Reputation and Relationships

2 min read

A friend, former colleague and someone who can be relied on for good counsel, Matt Gillis, once told me a piece of advice his own mentor gave him:

“Reputation and Relationships — those are the only two things that matter.”

That’s never more true than when starting a business.

I was fortunate enough in my career to work for a successful mobile ad-tech business. It was early and had a fantastic and memorable IPO, before eventually going on to be acquired for $238m. At the point of the acquisition, I was managing a team of 24 incredible marketers around the world. I guess that — amongst a few other things — has burnished my reputation in that industry. But what’s the half life of a reputation?

Warren Buffet famously said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. I’ve noticed they also diminish exponentially, if you’re only calling on past achievements.

And what of relationships? In this always-on, digitally-connected life, it is very easy to amass tens of thousands of connections, across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others. But what does that really mean? Are these metrics an accurate measure of a relationship?

Probably not, which is why I’m choosy when deciding whether to accept any of the daily avalanche of unqualified connection requests. I have no desire to be a personal media brand and day trade attention, as many social media gurus tend to imply is necessary.

Don’t get me wrong, reach is very important and, having taken time to create some content, I want to put suitable effort and resource into distribution. But I see that as running an effective campaign, rather than just amassing a large, but impersonal CRM database.

True relationships, between two people, are something much more significant.

In starting Too Many Dreams Limited, I’ve come to realise how important reputation and relationships really are, particularly as a new company, trying to win new business. The relationships that have been cultivated over many years and which have created a stronger connection are clearly visible, as friends actively want to help, looking for ways our companies can partner and work together.

Outside of these situations, having strong relationship and reputation scores will get you in the door, and secure you a meeting. But then it’s down to delivering the third R — Results. It’s this third one that burnishes your reputation, helps grow your relationships and gets you back in the door to try again another day.

25.11.23 - Posted by Stephen Jenkins
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