Having spent all of my working life in the corporate world, when I started my own business in 2012, I was advised to “ go and network “. I thought ok, but what does that look like? and what does it entail?
Searching around on the internet and talking to colleagues I was given a few pointers which included the main players in the franchise market “ you know who you are “ down to small local groups meeting up over a coffee.
I must say it was a case of trial and error in finding what was right for me but I recall coming across an article which read;
“Successful entrepreneurs know that networking is not a numbers game. It’s not about how many business cards you pass out or collect. It’s not about how many products you can sell or whom you can instantly impress, exploit or schmooze to get what you want.
Proper networking is a gradual process of making genuine connections with people and cultivating those relationships for the long term. Here are five ways to take the stress out of networking, expand your sphere of influence and form solid, mutually beneficial relationships”.
So my starter and tip number one is:
1. Think Seriously About What You Want To Get Out Of It And Write It Down
If it’s prospects you are after, then some groups might not be for you. If it’s your own development and building your business then certain groups are better than others, so do your research and find out as much as you can before you attend. Remember the old saying “ Fail to plan, plan to fail “ analogy.
2. Be Yourself
You have skills and experience that others in the room may not have. It may be a little daunting but rest assured most people in the room feel the same so be confident.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Join In
If you want to achieve something from it then sitting back and watching from the sidelines might not get you what you want. Share your own experiences and use the knowledge in the room to develop yourself and others.
4. Give With No Expectations In Return
Having made the plunge it’s better to “Give with no expectations in return." Sharing is caring as they say. I have learned in life that if you give something for free in terms of knowledge and experience you are likely to get more back in return so it’s a win win scenario.
5. Have Some Fun With It
Above all don’t take yourself and others too seriously and have some fun with it. If you are committing your time, why not go with the attitude of enjoy it but at the same time remember tip number one, what do you want to achieve from attending.
If the tips I have raised hit a chord then joining KAIZEN is what helped me grow my business. Focused more on shared values and learning from each other in a trusted environment is what is all about so give it a try.