We all know why we should network as business owners, so why don’t we network more?
I’ve been asked to talk a couple of times in recent months about the importance of networking. Why? Well… because I do a lot of networking. And no, I don’t have too much time on my hands, but I do realise the value in creating and nurturing good relationships.
I’m sure that most of you are now thinking “well, so do I!”, but do you really? Or, do you really understand how far good relationships and a solid reputation can get you in business?
Let me give you an example. When I started my business I was floating around, not really knowing where to go or what to do, or even, where to start. Then my new mentor set me a challenge. I was to attend two networking events a week for the first 30 days and one networking event for the next 60 days.
I have to be honest – I was wondering where on earth I would find the time. And then before I knew it, I had surpassed the bar that was set for me. Soon, I was networking three times a week as a minimum! Why? Because it paid off – far sooner than imagined.
After being out and about in the community for only about six weeks, I struck gold. I just happened to be at a breakfast event, and sitting at a table and next to me was the person who would introduce me to the world of professional speaking – which of course is what I do now.
He knew of me and Lady Calamity because I had been so active in the networking sphere. This in itself was a huge accomplishment for me – I had been in business for myself for just three months and already, people knew me and my brand. This is still a huge thrill for me.
Seven months down the track and I’m still getting phone calls from people I don’t know but who have heard of me, asking whether I will come and speak at their events on time management, work/life balance or the importance of networking – all because they’ve heard of me through the networks and relationships I worked to build for myself.
So the question is: how do we make sure we always make time to network? It’s as simple as making it a priority in your life – just like sleeping and eating.
Attending one networking event a week is much better than not attending any, so set aside three hours a week when you’re planning your schedule – this block of time should be enough for your travel time and for the event itself. By making it a necessary part of your diary and a necessary part of your marketing plan, you will be truly amazed at the opportunities that open up for you.