We’d like to continue the discussion on execution from Josiah’s article last week where he talked about the 3Cs of execution : coordination, competency and commitment.  One of the things to be developed in competencies is a soft asset called relationships which assists marketers and entrepreneurs in making things happen. 
Hence, we cite the importance of investing in relationships or a relevant network, as part of your ability to get things done, or to simply accomplish tasks expected of you, to launch a promotion, or even to ask for referrals and recommendations.  A case in point is the Young Market Masters Awards (YMMA).
Josiah and I saw the need to give a face of excellence that young marketers and entrepreneurs can emulate.  We encountered them often in our work at Mansmith and they shared their goals of climbing the corporate ladder through the learnings gained from our seminars.  We realized that we wanted to do more in helping our clients soar by recognizing young role models who would serve as inspiration to society.  There was no organization doing this for young marketing professionals.  Doing some pencil-pushing, I realized that the high cost of nearly two million pesos to run this project would deter existing marketing organizations to do this project.  There was no corresponding revenue since it does not charge entry or subsidy fees to nominees or winners. 
But our belief in the project and our mission made us very passionate about the Young Market Masters Awards.  We were prepared to fund the entire activity on our first year, similar to what was done in another advocacy, the MarkProf Marketing Bootcamp.  When important people saw it could be done credibly by a private company like Mansmith & Fielders, more important people came to support.  We were able to partner with the Philippine Daily Inquirer and BusinessWorld who encouraged us to proceed with a round of search advertisements they sponsored, followed by another placement on the announcement of official winners.  We also gained the support of franchising guru Samie Lim who was instrumental in helping us get the official endorsement of the Philippine Franchise Association as well as the Philippine Retailers Association.  Retail giant Abenson also threw in their all-out support to fund the awards night for the next decade, sealing the financial sustainability of the YMMA.
The YMMA has since honored several batches and we feel blessed and inspired after each event as we listened to the stories of the awardees , how they have conquered both personal and professional adversities and not just survived but became victorious. 
How did we build these networks that have since evolved into friendships and partnerships?
Joining industry associations and being active in committees is a good start.  Thru active participation, you can build your credibility as a responsible member or leader of the group, thereby creating a reputable name for yourself.  Another way is to build and establish yourself as one of the experts in your field.  There is attraction in positive association.  Also come up with worthwhile projects that can be shared with like-minded groups or individuals.  People need to believe in you and in the cause you are pursuing. 
The point that we would like to emphasize is that there is a need to invest in a relevant network whose help and support you just might need one of these days.    And when we say invest, it does not mean, just connecting and taking.  We must always offer a win-win proposition.  We work closely with our sponsors and partners and assist them in several ways whether in form of training and consultancy, joint projects for awareness and business building or even fund raising for their own advocacies.  In establishing a relevant network, entrepreneurs must build their own reputation and credibility so they have something to offer potential partners as well.  What do you have that can benefit another networks and what networks do you need to build so you can benefit from the relationships there as well?
Entrepreneurs and marekters must learn to network because this allows us to grow, to learn from each other and to establish relationships that are win-win and enriching.
Chiqui Escareal-Go is the CEO of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. The above article is an excerpt from the book “The WE Entrepreneur:Understanding the five tasks and the five treasures in every enlightened entrepreneur’s journey” authored by Josiah Go and Chiqui Escareal-Go. For inquiries, please e-mail info@mansmith.net , call 584-5858/412-0034 or text 0918-811- 6888.  Also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.