Is there any point for entrepreneurs to network? Networking takes time you don’t have. Can you cut it down? Could you do it better? Let’s look at those questions one at a time.
What’s the Point in Networking?
Everyone knows that networking leads to sales leads and partnerships with other entrepreneurs. It requires time and patience so don’t stop. Keep at it.
Networking is the most important of your entrepreneurial roles, and you can never delegate it.
People want to talk to the headman, not his employee.
What About Return on Investment?
I have never been able to quantify my RoI on networking, but I do know that without it, I would have no business at all.
Every single opportunity that has come my way has come from networking and helping other people without any expectation of reward. This post-Safwan has written on RoI makes great reading.
Helping People Makes You Feel Good
You are an entrepreneur because you enjoy it. Helping people and making them feel good is what you do.
If you make people feel good then you will feel good and this is the best reason for doing anything. Keep it up.
Make People Happy
You make people happy when you help them, even in small ways. Happy people tell their friends about you and your business.
Use the Six Degrees of Separation Principle. If you make enough impact, then your reputation will spread outwards even faster, and people you have never met will be telling their friends about you.
Happy people are good for business. Nobody ever bought anything with a glum look on their face. If you make people smile, then you are halfway to making the sale.
What Goes Around Comes Around
People remember. Every time you help someone you are building your credit reserves of future help. Nobody likes to think that they owe favors.
The time will come when the people you help will be able to help you. They will because that is the only way that they can be comfortable with themselves.
Cutting Down On Networking Time
You only have 10 – 12 hours of productive time each day. Networking could fill every minute of that if you let it.
Most people have an ultra-creative few hours. You need to keep that sacrosanct. That time must be devoted to developing your business plans and brainstorming; working on the Big Picture.
Ideas For Networking Better
Using social media is NOT networking. Networking means talking and listening to fellow entrepreneurs and helping to solve their problems.
Networking is best-done face-to-face, or at least in a one-to-one situation if you are online.
Social media platforms do have a role to play in getting your name known, but real networking is what follows on when you make personal contact with those who follow you.
Networking is about you helping others, about giving. If you approach networking with this attitude, then you will be more successful.
You may measure success as the amount of money you make from the people in your network, but if you approach networking with the idea that you are doing it to make money, then you will fail.
How Important is Money?
Think of Money as just one of six currencies. The others are; Love, Time, Knowledge, Reputation, and Contacts. Every one of these is more important than Money.
You need to love what you do and to work hard at spreading the Love. Positivity is the name of the game. Make potential customers feel loved and they will love you back.
Each of us gets 24 hours a day of Time. The big problem is that none of us can save time. We need to invest it in other currencies, and that is what networking is about.
We can invest time in acquiring new knowledge, becoming THE expert in the field, the person people come to when they need help.
Use your knowledge to grow your reputation. Use what you know to help other people.
This is best done in a visible way, so your reputation even grows with people who see you helping others.
As your reputation grows, so will the number of people who count you in their contacts list.
Contacts are important for any entrepreneur because everyone buys services from people they know when they can.
A few of your Contacts will pay you money for your services or products. Love . . . Time . . . Knowledge . . . Reputation . . . Contacts . . . Money.
Your Network Is Your Future
The day you stop networking is the day your business starts to die. The day you stop helping others is the beginning of the end for your start-up business.
You MUST make time for networking to grow your reputation. Nothing stands still. If your reputation is not growing, then it is shrinking.
Over To You
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please share your own ideas or points you may have on networking using the comment box below.
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