Today’s business topic is about the importance of networking. If you’ve never heard the saying “It’s not about what you know, but about who you know” then hear it from me. This statement is one of the most honest sayings around. As a new or existing entrepreneur, it is extremely important to understand that although you are the one with the dream, it takes a team. That means, you can’t do it alone. No matter how much we think we can, it is important to understand that you will need other people in order to make your business flourish. Let’s talk about the key elements to networking. Let’s get into it!
Know what your secret sauce is and how to make others want to try it.
Whatever it is that you do, be completely sure and solid in what that is. After you’re sure of what you do, be sure of what makes it special and different from anything similar that’s already established. Also, be sure of who you’re doing it for. Think of your customer base as often as you can and find ways to make and keep them satisfied with what you have to offer. Lastly, Remember why you do it. This, to me, is what really makes it secret sauce. Believe in yourself and continue to chase your dream because there’s not much else that is more desirable than that.
Know what you’re looking for in the people who’s help you’re asking for.
When you’re networking with other business professionals, identify what exactly you need from them. Know exactly what to ask them for and be clear about that after introductions. Also, know to offer yourself to someone else as a reliable resource. As much as you will need to network with people to gain resources, you could very well be a resource for someone else out there.
Meet as many people who you can benefit from as possible.
I usually set a minimum goal per week of people I need to meet. Whether it is to gain knowledge, inspiration, or a customer I make as much effort as possible to meet as many people as I can. If you’re a little more on the shy side, I would definitely advise setting a goal each week of how many people you need to meet in order to give you the extra push you’ll need to meet people. Also, be sure to visit as many groups and events that interest you because it’s almost impossible for you not to meet and connect with someone who will be able to be an asset to you and the progress your business will eventually make.
Look great and speak even better.
Seriously, look as good as you can. Splurge a little on the things you wear to these types of networking events. Your image says a lot about you and you want to be sure to look as professional, successful, and educated as you can. I mean it. Even more important than dressing a million dollars is to articulate and speak properly, clearly, and with purpose. Leave people wanting to know more about you.
Ultimately, this is what it boils down to. Be someone that they cannot forget. Although business cards can help a bit, unless your face is on it and you’re the only one handing out business cards… they’re not very good about reminding someone of who you are. Be present while you’re networking. Engage in conversation, make (appropriate) jokes, and set up follow-up calls and/or lunch dates to let them know you’re absolutely serious about what you’re trying to accomplish professionally.
Make plans to get some networking done within the next week and be sure to keep these things in mind!