The market is tough. Pursuing growth is on everyone’s mind. Identifying new
ways to increase revenue and profit often relies on engaging the
right people. They can provide an enormous amount of helpful
information and guidance. Here’s some guidance for finding these folks.

First, identify your core
– these are the groups that must be on board in order for you
to succeed. You will have (a) internal
core constituencies, those inside your organization whose dedication
and best effort is required for success, and (b) external core constituencies, those
who reside outside your organization.

Here is a list of fourteen additional categories to consider when you
are looking for the right people:

  1. Political leaders
    This includes
    more than those who hold office – here is anyone who has power that
    influences your outcome.

  2. Policymakers
    If principles
    are being formally adopted that impact your business, you must remain
    in the loop. Opportunity often arises simply from understanding the
    nuances and exceptions of new rules.

  3. Resource providers
    Who is
    furnishing time, money, energy, people? These are the fuels that fund
    growth. Those that control them are in a position to release or
    withdraw necessary assets.

  4. Influencers
    Just as often
    these people are outside the chain of command as within it. Look for
    those who hold sway
    others regardless of position.

  5. Thought leaders
    These are
    people who are looked to for their expertise in a particular field
    germane to your program. They are commonly recognized for their deep
    knowledge, extensive experience, or both.

  6. Technical experts
    Not always
    recognized or followed, these are the people who genuinely have the
    know-how: they are specialists in the industry, domain, or technical

  7. Researchers and
    Those who
    conduct and gather findings and those who document relevant knowledge
    can bring exceptional contributions. Ignoring them can result in the
    ignorance that sabotages success.

  8. Practical visionaries
    These are the
    people who make innovation happen. Their heads are in the clouds and
    their feet are on the ground. They see far, and they know how to
    implement and deliver results regularly.

  9. Frontline executers
    These are the
    folks at the coal face. They are in the trenches and carry out
    day-to-day work. Their expertise comes directly from experience. They
    are firsthand sources.

  10. Partners
    Partners work
    collaboratively to make business happen. They are usually in a
    reciprocal relationship with you, co-designing and even co-executing.
    If your work changes, theirs will as well. Without their support your
    efforts will encounter additional and sometimes substantial obstacles.

  11. Alliances
    These are
    other groups or agencies that have common goals with your group and
    have agreed to share resources in order to achieve a common set of
    objectives. They often provide additional reach and leverage,
    multiplying your results, as you do for them.

  12. Suppliers
    overlooked because their relationship is logistical or tactical,
    suppliers are part of the nitty-gritty of execution and often must
    change or shift business processes to enable your success.

  13. Competitors
    sidestepped except by those who recognize the interdependence of
    the marketplace, competitors can bring a lot to the table. In some
    instances, they will even collaborate as long as your joint activity
    does not directly threaten market share.
  14. Detractors
    Here are three benefits detractors can bring to you:

    1. They
    educate you on your weaknesses. Then you can fortify
    and bolster your position by addressing the areas they target.

    2. Some will
    convert and become staunch or partial supporters.

    3. Simply by
    associating with them, you will gain respect and build
    political clout. 

All of these groups together form the web of relationships that will
yield and sustain your success in the market. As you identify
individuals in
each of these categories, keep in mind that your list is dynamic.
People will drop off the list and others will join. Day in and day out,
there is turnover. Maintain your list, and make it a priority to
bring newcomers into the fold as they step onto the playing field.
Talking to the right people is not an adjunct to business, it is the
way to growth.