Whether you are building your business or developing a career there is one essential skill that you must put time into – networking.
Developing a network is one of the most beneficial things everyone can do. Having a community around helps make running your business or developing your career so much easier for many reasons.
- You have a network of people that you can ask advice from.
- You have other businesses/people that you can partner or collaborate with.
- You have the ability to develop relationships with people and gain insight on a different perspective that you can use to innovate.
- Overtime you will build relationships where you help each other, share ideas, help solve challenges – within your network everyone will have something to offer each other.
- Businesses will increase sales (through network referrals) and individuals will be thought of when job opportunities match their skills.
However, many people struggle with building up their professional network; after all, when you are taking care of all of your other responsibilities how can you also have time to socialise?
So, yes we have to take time to build our network. I am not talking about turning up to meetings but, consciously making time each week to develop your personal network. Joining networking groups is a great way to start, however it is just that, a start. Developing YOUR network is what I am talking about here, when you meet people through network groups, industry functions, training etc actively look for people who you could network with.
The best way to start is to think about how you can help others in your network, what can you offer them? Once you get started you will find over time your network will naturally sort it self out.
I have a number of ways I manage my personal network/s.
- Coffee meetings (you do not necessarily have to meet with everyone at the same time)
- Build my own network groups online (usually I will identify people in these groups I want to work with face to face)
- I manage my own network group/s which meet either monthly or quarterly.
If you are new to networking join a group, work with others who you identify as great networkers, or ask your colleagues and contacts if they know of a great group.
I am a fan of starting your own network, nurturing it by looking at what you can offer those you meet with and working on this activity every week.
I hope this article inspires you to either start networking or refresh your approach to this skill. I have no doubt it is the single most successful way to build your business or develop your career.
“People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – often do”