"Having Marc Reede as your campus keynote speaker is like having 10 high-paid influencers address your students in one affordable package."
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We’re all in the business of building relationships.  Doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are in your career.  We all strive to be the best we can given our particular circumstances.  And over the years, I’ve developed some wonderful business relationships with customers of mine who I can truly call friends and who I can count on for their business loyalty.  But what if my business went away tomorrow?  

I’ve always felt that because of my current business ties and because of my keen ability to meet new people and gain their trust, I could easily “start over” if I were ever put in a position where I needed to do just that.  But this pandemic is different–as it’s truly causation for unprecedented times in every industry. In my business like in other industries, so many have been deeply impacted just in the last 3 months since this began. Nobody really knows what business will look like on the other side of this pandemic. And all of a sudden, many of us currently in the workforce will be sitting at square one just like a recent college graduate. Okay, maybe not exactly.  But you understand where I’m going with this. 

Everyone will be hustling to reboot their businesses and their careers at the same time. 

People in business like myself have to trust that the relationships we’ve built over the years are strong enough bonds to survive these months of no business. Because on the other side of this, I need to know that although it may look a bit different moving forward, business will be back as usual.  The truth of it is though that I do not know if it will be business as usual.  And I cannot with confidence count on those current business ties to be there waiting for me. So I need a plan in place.  And yes, I am currently reaching out to all of those loyal customers of mine to say hello because that “touch” is so very important always. But I also need to move forward and prepare for the future as if they won’t be there for me. I need to start to develop new relationships now even if I can’t develop and work those relationships the way that I’m used to doing it (shaking hands with people in their offices or over lunch or coffee at their conferences).

My plan now is to put into practice exactly what I share with college seniors:  Build your personal brand and become a terrific storyteller about yourself, Maintain a network of connections that you consistently keep in touch with, and Understand the fact that rejection will always make you better for the next one. Covid-19 may prove to be the ultimate rejection letter, but let’s be ready for the other side together.