Have you been ‘burned’ by trusting a connection you made in business – or, thought you had made? How did that make you feel? I’ll bet ‘betrayed’ was high on your list. Of course, you’re going to feel a sense of let-down, of hurt. Especially if money crossed hands.
How can you prepare yourself so that it doesn’t happen again? Well, you can be more vigilant, and you can ask discretely for references. Take your time to get to know someone thoroughly. Ask around. This person has a past and it will emerge if you look hard enough for it.
Don’t be impatient to grow your business too fast if it (or you) aren’t quite ready. It can lead to errors in judgment. Add to that your eagerness to demonstrate your trust in your new buddy, partner or collaborator and it could reveal a vulnerability on your part, which unscrupulous people can take advantage of.
When seeking to build new connections, go to trusted networks where you will find like-minded businesspeople. You can search the rooms and watch from a distance to find out how someone mixes with other people. Are they too forthright? Are they demonstrating arrogance rather than confidence? Do they have friends that they mingle with regularly? What are their friends like? What kind of questions are they asking? What business credentials do they have?
While building connections is to be encouraged, unfortunately, there are some dishonest people out there who can wheedle their way into your life – and your wallet. It’s your job to suss them out. Do your homework and make noteworthy and profitable connections.