Your network is the oxygen to your business!
Any successful business needs more than customers. There’s also suppliers, collaborators, advisors, mentors, supporters, advocates, even critics.
The secret lies in creating the right network and sustaining it in meaningful ways.
Why You Need to Network to build a thriving Business
While being a solopreneur means absolute authority, it can also be a lot of pressure. The success of your company, amongst other things, is also rooted deeply in your ability to find, nurture & build leads! But many a times, we find ourselves spinning our wheels and yet not making any traction, or worse dragging our feet as introverts. No fear…Networking, practiced right/ intentionally, can keep you moving forward with your goals.
Everyone needs help… even Einstein
No one person succeeded without a little bit of support throughout his or her lifetime.
Somewhere along the line, there was at least one person who probably reached out and helped you with a dream or a goal.
Connecting with other people can be your source of help and encouragement.
AND they can be a great way to help you build and nurture your leads.
You Inject Fresh Ideas into your business
Networking brings people into your life who can confidently speak up and help you pinpoint issues and resolve them.
Talking with others, connecting online or in-person – all of these bring variety to your perspective.
Sometimes someone who is on a different path can offer a unique point of view towards your vision – or add new ideas into your otherwise stagnant lead generation efforts.
They can add new viewpoints towards nurturing your existing customers. No one wants to be stationary in their business. Ask what they are doing and see if their process sparks new life into your efforts.
Increase Emotional Effectiveness in your work
In almost any endeavor in life, our emotions are closely tangled with whatever it is that we’re doing.
When you have a team of people you connect with, you’ll often find a great network of support and it’s a great way to be sure you are building a healthy process in your business.
Find support from like-minded women: Join our Facebook group Business and Career networking for Women
Double Your Output
With a good network, you can seek and create partnerships or joint ventures that can lead to even greater opportunities.
A JV partner for example, can email their subscriber list about you and visa versa. By doing this collaborative barter, not only do you provide amazing, new opportunities for your existing email list, but also nudge those leads into becoming your raving fans.
You can double the amount of output you’re capable of when you have a network.
Also read: 14 great ways to find a business partner
Also read: : e-Networking tips every entrepreneur needs
How can you utilize the Give and Take of Networking
When entrepreneurs think of networking, it’s usually in a “What can they do for me” mindset.
But the best way to get the top contacts in your corner is to step up and serve others first.
You already have plenty of ways that you can benefit from those on your JV or affiliate teams. But start with answering how people that you network with stand to gain from the relationship. This mindset of giving before receiving can help support & strengthen your relationships and end goals.
Go beyond contacts. Think e Networking via email, on forums, as well as on social media.
Engage your Best Marketers
You should build relationships with your clients too. The more you share and support your clients, the more likely they will be to suggest your work to others. They become your spokespeople – your marketing team!
Bring your very best work and knowledge to your customers and make sure you over-deliver. They will often not hesitate to do the same for you through amazing testimonials and referrals.
See this awesome testimonial by a Maroon Oak Member Ellen of ScoochaMi.
Acknowledgement goes a long way
Don’t forget about your team! These are the people that are often the first connection your leads have inside your community.
AND they are the extra eyes and ears in your business.
By creating a strong network between your team and your leads, you can again multiply your solo efforts and create a stronger chance for direct contact with your leads aka your future clients.
What you can give back is gratitude and support that shows that you appreciate the effort. Your team is often underappreciated and having someone acknowledge their work means more than you realize.
Create Triple Wins
Network with people who know more than you in whatever area you need the help. You’ll gain from their wisdom, their years of experience – and their contacts can become your potential contacts as well.
Working with Peer Mentors always pays off. To develop this relationship, you can reciprocate with fresh ideas, be someone to bounce ideas off of or help with a project.
Looking for mentoring relationships? Learn how to seek, find and grow with a Mentor.
You can also promote them to your leads if it aligns with your strategic plans, which is a win-win-win all the way around.
e Networking Success Mantra – Go Where the Opportunities Exist
We’re coming into the home stretch now of how you can power up your lead generation and growth using networking.
Here’s a simple step that may seem obvious, but has to be said.
No matter what form of networking you are adding to your village, you have to put yourself out there to make connections.
Especially when you are making connections online. You HAVE to reach out and remind them that you are there.
Make It A Habit
Make it a priority to try to create at least one new networking opportunity every day. It may take up to 5, or 10, or even 20 ‘reach outs’ to make a solid connection.
Remember that it’s not personal (most of the times)
People are busy! They may not see your email or Facebook message so make it a practice to follow up again.
LinkedIn is a great place for connecting, as well as Facebook groups, and even Instagram! All you have to do to find the opportunities is to be active on those platforms and in the groups where you know your leads are hanging out. You can even enrich your in-person networking with Facebook!
When you’re trying to connect, don’t overwhelm the person with eagerness.
You can network without coming across as too pushy. Avoid these networking mistakes.
Keep in mind that other successful people have busy schedules and they may not respond right away.
Create a Follow up System
And track! Track your contacts on a spreadsheet or in your CRM.
When you meet new people, you want to be sure you can reach out again later and follow up, so don’t forget to get an email address AND a phone number.
Share your Brilliance
But be prepared to clearly define your Unique Brilliance to those you are networking with.
How are people in a group going to know who to recommend for you to network with if they don’t know your specialty or the type of clients you want to work with?
So don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you do and where you plan to take your business.
Your network can be your biggest asset. Or the weak link in your business, if not used the right way.
The best way is to create and nurture a strong network is with intent and care, so you can mutually grow and benefit each other.
Guest Author: Jennifer Dunham, the founder and CEO of Time, Money & Happiness Matters, who helps driven professionals love their career and fully love their lives. Jennifer is a TINY HABITS certified coach, CASH INJECTION SPECIALIST and Motivational Speaker and Author.
With over 20 years’ experience running her Information Technology firm, designing systems and operating procedures, it’s easy to see why Jennifer’s approach is rooted in her IT background. She’s a believer in automation, habits, repeatable processes and streamlining to reduce overwhelm so clients can focus on what matters most. She teaches her clients how to find more time, so they can make more money and increase their happiness.
As a speaker, Jennifer’s relatable stories and specific strategies to use right away help entrepreneur audiences grown and scale their business in a way that aligns with their desired lifestyle and values. When Jennifer isn’t working, you will find her hiking with her hubby, playing with their kitties Zipper and Velcro, or tending to their small chicken farm in the Sierra foothills in Northern California.