Strategic Business Networking For Professionals

A Business Networking Mindset Is Essential For Success

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Most business owners have a specific mindset when it comes to networking.  Simply put, they expect to meet like-minded people who will help them grow their businesses.

Because after all is said, and done, the only reason to network is to build your business.  Why else would anyone network?

Small business owners are conditioned to expect business networking to help their businesses.  Many become disillusioned by the results they get from networking events or activities in which they were involved

In the last post we made the point that business networking is different in that it should be networking system with an input, process and output. We pointed out that meeting people, collecting business card and chatting is the input for the system.

Now, throw this into the mix.  Every other networking business owner is thinking exactly as you are; they are looking to meet people who can help their business grow. That is the standard.

Meeting a new business owner is not only the input; it is should initiate the process.  Your mindset about networking, your demeanor, clarity of expression all go into whether your networking will be successful. If you don’t know what to do, you do nothing or do the wrong thing, like I have done, then building a network is not easy.  Computer programmers say “garbage in, garbage out”. Networking starts with YOU.

Being unprepared and not having a follow up system is the primary reason most impromptu networking activity at workshops and seminars fail to produce results.  Networking is not something you do suddenly it must be systematically thought out; planned.  Networking is a system that works when the input into the system is valid. Your mindset is part of that input.

Without Business Networking The Road To Success is Longer & The Journey Harder

No Other Business Tool Involves YOU More Than Business Networking

Networking is not the only tool you can use to build your business but when compared to the other business building tools it has some unique benefits that can potentially improve any area of your business operations.

One unique feature of business networking is that you can’t buy it.  A business network relies solely on the business owner’s ability to interact with other business owners.  If you are an introvert determined to go it alone, you and your business will not be successful. Don’t worry, most introvert temporarily revert to being extroverts when they need to.  Business connections, like people are interdependent.

A great example of the power of networking is the Internet.  It has connected or made it possible to connect billions of people at a personal level with sites like Facebook and Linkedin.

What is also unique about business networking is that it can impacts a business so dramatically while requiring little or no financial investment.  Granted it does take time but every seed needs time to grow into a healthy plant, even with very little nurturing.

Finally, business networking is unique because it is impossible to predict the results.  That is, you will never know whom you will meet and how they can change your business.  The only control you have over that is the size and accessibility of your networks.

However, for most business owners the challenge is first grasping the idea, understanding what it is and how it works, then using it.

Hopefully after reading these tips will address that challenge.  Understand it and use it in your business. By stripping down the process so that you can see what’s under the hood of networking you can start developing the mindset to network strategically just like a professional would.

Remember, you don’t need to attend a workshop or seminar to network, you already knows how to network.  You also don’t need to change anything about yourself to network successfully other than to understand how it works for you and how you can apply the same principles in your business.

Networking with an open mind reaps the benefits. Mostly, you will get what you do not expect but when you network strategically, your business will grow.

For example, when people heard that we were hosting a Speed Networking Mixer, the first thought that came to their minds was that “networking would be fast, rapid”. Yes, you can meet people fast but you cannot network fast; networking takes time. The truth is that networking may take months or even years, before it pays off; it can also pay off the next day.

The speed at which you meet people has nothing to do with whether you develop a relationship. That takes human chemistry, satisfying a desire, meeting a need.  Remember, the other business owners are thinking about how they can gain from the relationship.

Speed Networking assumes that the more people you meet the more possibilities you will have to build useful relationships.

Remember, “garbage in, garbage out”.

As usual, we welcome comments. questions or suggestions

 

Business Networking is Not a One Time Event

At Events You Meet People, Networking Happens After

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Business networking is a process that may start at an event but if it ends there, nothing happens.

Business networking is building relationships, making friends, people you feel comfortable with, people you know better than the average Joe.

Business networking is not something you have to learn about (except for removing the myths) we network every day and use our networks repeatedly.

Our families are networks, our communities, our schools, our work places, online groups are all networks that we use, have formed easily and rely on for support.

Business networking is not any different but like most things in business, it you need to know how it works.

When business owners say that they have networked at events; what they are saying is that they have talked to people who could have been their friends.  If it ended there, they did not network, they may have thought that they did.

Nobody called them back so it was a total wasted. But it is not that the other person did not follow-up[ they didn’t. They did not follow up because they expected a call, an email. The result is that networking is not attractive, like one business owner said; “just an exchange of business cards”

First paradigm shift: networking is not an event it is a system with input, a defined process, and output; like a computer. Meeting new business owners, collecting business cards are the input, without the process there will be no output; period.

You need a networking system, not just a networking event. Better yet, you need an automated networking system that includes follow-up with phone calls, emails and or another face to face meetings; the process.

Without the process the event will always be a waste of your time, networking will not work for you.

Do you have a networking system in your business?.

If you do, please share what you do. Other business owners would love to know.