Build Your Business by Being Charitable

April 28, 2015

by Teresa Riccobuono

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One of the things I appreciate about working with advisors is your inclination to help others  – not just your clients, but also friends, family members, colleagues and your community.

Many of you move outside of your close-knit circles to help others who are less fortunate. People volunteer with the intention of helping others, but soon realize they too receive many benefits. One of the unintended benefits of being charitable is being exposed to new business opportunities.

Let’s discuss a few ways to become involved.

Join a board of directors

If you serve on a board, you may find yourself surrounded by like-minded and successful individuals.  After a period of time, you become acquainted with one another on a more personal level.  This deepening of the relationship may lead to a long-standing friendship or business relationship.

Be sure your primary focus is always on the benefit of the charitable organization, keeping the possibility of conducting new business in the background.

One of my advisor clients was asked by a top client of his to join a board in support of special needs children and their families.  He is now looking into getting a designation to advise families on special needs issues.  This may end up being a worthwhile niche for him.

Before agreeing to be on a board, be sure the cause is something you can fully support since you will be dedicating time, resources and money to this organization.

Here is a script from one of my colleagues at Oppenheimer that can be used to open the door to a business relationship:

Mary, you know we run into each other all the time at these meetings (social events) and I just want you to know that if you ever have any financial or investment questions or need a second opinion, I would be happy to make myself and my team available to you.  However, our friendship is far more important to me than any business relationship we might develop, so I will rely on you to reach out to me if or when that need arises.  I just want you to know that the door is always open.

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