Making Connections: The Importance of Networking

Making Connections: The Importance of Networking

I believe the most important commitment I made was to network. I’m convinced that this one thing has been the primary reason for my success to date. I had no real connections when I started in the fall of 2014. My previous role did not provide me with a ready-made network of potential clients or influencers. In fact, I had not attended any networking events in years. I truly began from a standing start. However, in short order I started to accumulate connections and build a network of individuals who have driven my business’s success. My number one piece of advice for anyone who is building their own business is to get out there and meet people, either in person or virtually – network like crazy!

Here are my key networking points:

  • Attend every networking event you can get to in your own and the surrounding communities
    • Chamber after 5 events
    • Downtown Business Associations
    • Local business group lunches
    • Get yourself invited to breakfast networking events (the first ones are almost always free)
    • Other regular events where your target clients/customers may congregate
  • Develop a quick Lunch and Learn presentation that you can offer
  • Join your local Chamber or Board of Trade
    • Look for volunteering opportunities – Chamber Ambassador Programs put you in front of a great number of business owners
  • Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook and other appropriate social media.
    • Create a marketing plan using LinkedIn’s search feature
      • Better still, use LI’s Sales Navigator
    • Contribute writing to blogs – create your own blog focusing on your area of expertise or interest
      • Post your blogs on as many sites as you can that may attract your audience
        • LinkedIn Pulse, BeBee, Medium, branded.me, Facebook….
      • To help you organize all these new connections invest in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application (there are several free ones; I use HubSpot)
        • As you move forward you may also want to look at investing in an email marketing service such as Constant Contact. Mail Chimp is a similar tool that is free of charge.

As you read this list, you may hear a little voice in your head telling you, “That’s a lot of work…” or “That will cost a lot of money….” Yes, it is a lot of work and no, done smartly, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The biggest cost and commitment is time.

John Whitehead, coaches’ individuals and organizations in becoming more effective by helping them improve their interpersonal communications, emotional intelligence and resiliency.

*******Are you wondering if having a Leadership/Personal Development Coach is right for you? Contact John for a complimentary, exploratory coaching session at john@johnkwhitehead.ca ********

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