Giving people a little more than they expect is a good way to get back more than you’d expect. -- Robert Half
I love this quote. While it seems so simple and straightforward, the truth is that most entrepreneurs, myself included, don’t help others as much as we could -- and not for selfish reasons. Personal goals and hectic schedules tend to consume every waking minute of the day.
Not only is helping someone a nice thing to do, but these little good deeds can come back to you tenfold. I recently identified several introductions, relationships and business deals that originated from helping someone over the past several months. Moving forward, I’m going to make a conscious effort to help more people.
Here are five examples of ways that you can help someone.
1. Mention opportunities.
We are presented with opportunities often -- business opportunities, partnerships, media exposure, etc. While you might not be able to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, or even be interested in them, there is a good chance that someone you know might be a great fit.
Take a quick minute to think about who might be a good fit for the opportunity. Simple things such as forwarding an email or making a phone call can transform an opportunity you were going to pass on into a great opportunity for someone else.
2. Be a brand supporter.
Think about all of the products and services that you or your company use on a daily basis. If you really like something don’t be afraid to let other people know about it. Not only are you helping someone else, but you also create two supporters of your brand in the process.
The service or product that you just supported is now an instant supporter of you, as is the person you provided the information to. Many people will feel the need to return the favor and they will end up introducing your brand to several of their contacts.
3. Share your knowledge and expertise.
Sharing your knowledge and expertise is a simple way to help someone. There are many ways to do this -- you can speak at events, create a helpful and free blog filled with information or provide your expertise in a one-on-one setting to someone that can benefit from your knowledge.
There are always people that can benefit from your expertise -- it doesn’t take long to pinpoint someone you could help. Over a year ago I helped a nonprofit organization map out a creative marketing strategy for a fundraising effort. I did it completely pro bono and in the end they hit their fundraising goal. Just recently, a year after helping them, my company received a nice referral because I took the time to share my knowledge and expertise.
4. Make introductions.
How many times have you heard something along the lines of, “I’ve got someone I want to introduce you to” only to never hear anything about it again. A lot of people will tell you that they want to introduce you to someone but then that introduction disappears into thin air.
If you feel that you can make a worthwhile introduction, just do it instead of talking about it. A simple introduction that you have the ability to facilitate can have a huge impact on someone else. Just be aware that any introduction you are responsible for is a direct representation of you -- only introduce parties that you are 100 percent comfortable vouching for.
5. Share your resources.
There is a good chance that you are surrounded by resources that could help other people and not completely inconvenience you in the process. An employee with some downtime, a spare conference ticket or even some extra office space are a few simple examples.
A startup founder contacted my marketing agency a few months ago to have some promotional materials designed and days before we were scheduled to start she called to cancel the project -- they discovered a major bug in their app and fixing it prior to launching required them to spend the money allocated for our work. One of our designers already had a chunk of time blocked off for the project so rather than just telling her, “OK, good luck and have a nice day” we did the project at no charge. It helped her and it has recently came back to us in the form of multiple referrals.
Helping others can cost you money and your most valuable resource, which is time, but when you set out to truly help someone it will often come back to you tenfold.
Do you have any examples of how helping someone resulted in you receiving more than you expected? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Related: 9 Awesome Ways to Inspire Others