biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: trendsetters, influencers, and connectors

by Grace Bonney

[today’s biz ladies article comes from from andrea at bratface marketing]

As a businesswoman, more importantly, an entrepreneur, I have come to learn that there are 3 very important people you must surround yourself with in order to help your business grow and make it successful: trendsetters, influencer’s and connectors. Why? Because these are the people who are going to believe in you, believe in what you are doing and will want to help you grow your business as ferociously as you do.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t something I learned yesterday. Or even 3 years back when I started my first business, the Smart Cookies. I learned this from my parents believe it or not. I watched how they connected with the people around them, how others influenced them both personally and professionally and how they nurtured those relationships to help them get to where they are today. Of course, not without offering the same in return. No, my parents are not celebrities, people in the media or savvy politicians. They are just your average people who have made a difference to others around them, have done the right things all their life and succeeded in doing so. I admired that and I certainly took it to heart as I got older and because a businesswoman.

Throughout my career, I have been able to connect with some amazing people who have helped me get to where I am today (professionally speaking). Now that I am busy running 2 businesses, Smart Cookies and Bratface Marketing, I have come to learn how important these people are to me, my business and how key they are to my success in this fickle world.

In simple terms, here is how I define the difference between all three. You can agree with me or not, but mark my word, you will agree with at least some of what I have to say and I guarantee that you will be able to have 1 if not all 3 of these people in your life to some capacity.

Trendsetters – you probably have heard this term commonly used in the fashion industry. A ‘fashion trendsetter’ can be used to describe Patricia Field, Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga, but when it comes to business, trendsetters are the ones you want to watch out for, listen carefully to, ‘follow’ if you are an avid Twitter user and trust when it comes to their instincts. These people are the ones who are always on the cutting edge of business, politics, and social media – you name it. They can often be risky and stray from the ‘norm’ (but really, what is classified as normal anymore these days?) but will often take the most risks because they believe in something, and believe in what they are doing and more importantly, don’t care as much about other people’s opinions. Talk about standing by your convictions! Others don’t sway these people easily because they are truly authentic and are not afraid to fail (although, they rarely do). You have to get on the bandwagon early with these folks if you want to be cutting edge and be a part of the trend.

Influencers – these people are who I find to be some of the most important. I have been influenced my many people in my life from parents, grandparents, former employers to good friends. They inspire me and they can often inspire you to do the things you are scared of in life. Taking the leap of faith to quit your high paying job and start your own company; taking a year off to travel and experience the world while leaving behind your security. Whatever it is, influencers will be some of the most amazing people (and best storytellers) you will surround yourself with and if you really want to succeed in life or business, they are the ones that will take you to the next level. If you need a little push in the right direction, start making a list of the best people who can influence you to make that move.

Connectors – from a business perspective, these people will literally rock your world. Ok, well they did for me anyway! This is one lesson I learned fairly early on in life: the people, who are good at connecting you with people you should know, are the people you should befriend and get to know really well. Don’t be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself. Doesn’t matter if you know them or not. One of the best ways you can succeed in business and connect yourself with others is to put yourself out there. Plain and simple. It’s very important in business because as you grow and succeed (whether it be as an entrepreneur or not) these are the people who will connect you with other influencers or people they believe will help you get to that next level. They are the ones who believe in you and have confidence in introducing you to others. One important note I want to mention is to make sure you connect with people who are worth connecting with. Don’t waste your time meeting people just for the sake of meeting people and getting out there. You want to make an effort in finding the right people who have your best interest at heart and will have some sort of a positive influence to your bottom line.

A final note, I wanted to leave you with this interesting point of view. A close friend of mine sent this to me when I asked her opinion on this topic. I agree with her 100% because it nicely sums up what this whole article is about. What do you think? Email me at andrea@bratfacemarketing.com and share your thoughts.

“The most important thing is to be seriously interested and curious about other people, believe that everyone has something of value to offer and that each one of us has qualities and/or talents that can assist someone else. Once you realize this it is easy to bring people together.” – Karen P.

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  • All very true ideas that I apply to my business every day, and I believe has been the root of much of my success!

    Another good resource along the same lines is “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, these concepts and ideas are touched upon in his book as well. His book is a “must read” for everyone who owns a business!

    • sarajui-

      i tried to email you re: your comment but your email is bouncing back as non-existent. please email me if you have questions about this article and the content, etc.


  • Spot on – especially the bit about connect with people worth connecting with. For me, that means people who are optimistic, creative and enthusiastic as well as well connected.

  • Very good words of advice. As a self employed designer, it’s often easy to get stuck in a rut of not putting yourself out there — or even literally getting out of your studio.

  • Yay! Another Biz Ladies! I am eating these up. Thanks for the great advice Andrea, love the tips on your website. It’s making the planning stages of my own small biz a lot less daunting. Cheers!

  • Thanks for this fantastic post! I always look forward to a new biz ladies!

    ps. a new series started yesterday called Plucky Pioneers at http://www.theneotraditionalist.com – it’s interviews with young women designers starting their own businesses. worth a look if you enjoy biz ladies! xx

  • Thank you for the post! When working at home with no co-workers it can be easy to forget how important being surrounded by new people is. I appreciate the reminder!

  • Thank you everyone for all your awesome comments and feedback. I am glad the article inspired you a little bit because i believe all great knowledge and wisdom is worth sharing. I have tried to respond to each and every one of your personal emails. Thank you and I hope to inspire you again!


  • Thank you for the pearls of wisdom. You are so spot on. I always get the best response to my ideas and business plans simply by talking to other people and bouncing around ideas. Like you and your friend said – everyone has something to offer.

  • Your article is very insightful, and speaks tons of truth. As a young entrepreneur, I am seeing first hand how important the people you surround yourself with… both in positive and negative ways. Thanks!

  • As a new blogger with a passion for writing I didn’t know I had until a few months back, I am trying to continue managing my passion for writing with the steady increase in advertising enquiries and the like – it’s overwheming really, but sites like this and articles like these are not only inspiring me, but helping me keep on the right path. Hooray for Design Sponge, I love it! I have printed off every single article and file them and keep returning to them when I need to focus on all things ‘blog’.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and being so willing to help others.

  • Great article! The best part for me is when you said “Don’t be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself. Doesn’t matter if you know them or not.” I find that a large part of what has held me back is fear so it means something to me when you encourage to get out there and meet people. Good job!

  • I wanted to say that I’m grateful for finding this article today.I think it all boils down to “support”,both receiving & giving.
    When I read this, I thought about the ppl. who have been supportive of me & my business,but also the ppl. that I would like to see lifted to a higher level.It’s such a good feeling knowing that you have helped someone else.There’s an energy to it that drives us onward & upward.Thank you for that.

  • So inspiring. I love reading all the Biz Ladies Articles.. And i also love the topics you guys write about .. Everything from Business nit bits to life’s trivial challenges.. Great work ..! Im sure there are alot of creative business owners out there who have you to thank for !

  • As usual, I am behind on my reading, but this time, this one just got lost in the sea :-)

    I had not considered this; not to the degree you pointed out.

    I know I spend the vast majority of my days locked up in the house, my dog begging me to leave! :-)

    I’m wondering if I might put an ad out to see if there are “small potatoes” like me who would like to start a support group; near enough we could have coffee once a week. If I’m out here in this situation, there must be others too! And maybe already one in MEETUP.COM.

    Thanks for another great article!

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