“You! You can be my wingman anytime.”
People of a certain age will immediately get that reference. Just in case though, it’s from the cheesiest of 80s action films, the one that really gave us Tom Cruise…. It’s Top Gun. And if you want to feel particularly aged, that film is already 33 years old!
Adrenaline fuelled fighter jets and men’s beach volleyball aside, the concept of the wingman (or wingwoman, or just plain ‘winger’) has stood the test of time.
What does it actually mean?
Wingman; noun – a pilot whose aircraft is positioned behind and outside the leading aircraft in the formation.
Essentially, it’s someone who is there to support the leader. Someone who can protect them and let them lead the charge. Plus, they can step up or step in if the leader needs them.
A Business Wingman (or woman)
The concept is never more important than in business.
Running a business or leading a team is a full-on role. It can be lonely too depending on the size of your team and how removed you are from them. You’re often expected to have all the answers. People come to you asking about your processes, your marketing strategy, which clients are the priority, what events you have coming up.
Aaargh – breathe!
Before I joined the Green Umbrella team, I was MD of a recruitment software company. Like all companies, we had to rely on suppliers to support us.
There were design and print companies who helped with brochures and business cards, website designers who would give our online presence a facelift or relaunch when necessary. We called in coaches or trainers to upskill our team in topics like using specific software or social media.
The most important thing and the reason we went back to the same suppliers, time after time, was that they understood our business.
A partnership should be an extension of your business
A supplier or partner should be an extension of you. They should understand the nuances of your business or your offering.
In a perfect world, you should be viewing your suppliers as partners, as employees that simply work elsewhere; as big brothers or sisters, as wingmen or women. Essentially, whichever metaphor works for you!
Whenever you’re looking for a new supplier, both in and out of the world of work, where do you go? Typically, there are a few steps you might take
- Ask your network for recommendations. Who would people you trust suggest? Colleagues, industry peers, friends and family, could all make recommendations.
- Google search – a typical internet search perhaps for social media training or website design and your location will bring up some suppliers you can contact.
- Look out for reviews – if you’re using Google, a typical search for a company will bring up any reviews down the right-hand side of the screen. Try it with your favourite restaurant or takeaway and see if people agree! Look out for reviews from places like Trust Pilot, Feefo, Google reviews, Checkatrade, and so on.
- Once you’ve selected a company, don’t be afraid to ask for references or check out their testimonial page. See what other people have to say about them.
- Ask for samples of their work – again, don’t be afraid to ask for an example of what you might be getting. This can be straightforward for products, for example, business cards or literature. It’s not as easy for services but you can ask to be pointed in the right direction.
What I love about Green Umbrella is that they act as an extension of your marketing team. They truly embed themselves in your business and in fact, won’t start any activity with you until they have done a thorough fact find.
Having done a quick ring around to speak to some customers, I was impressed (but not totally surprised) at just how much customers sang the praises of the GU team.
What would your customers say about you if you picked up the phone and called them today? It’s reassuring to know that you’ve got someone waiting in the wings to lean on, support you and step up when it’s time to deliver.
Amanda is a freelance marketing consultant and business coach, having worked in marketing and leadership roles for 20+ years, and is an associate of Green Umbrella. Amanda is working with the GU team on strategy, marketing and business development and, in her words, ‘loves the ethos of Green Umbrella. The team really know their stuff when it comes to digital marketing and social media, plus they are genuinely great people to work with!’