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Month: November 2019

What Are Modern Business Networking Groups Anyway?

Posted on November 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

Maybe you’ve just started up in business and you’ve heard about modern networking groups and how important they will be to your new business. Maybe you need to expand your business and venture into new areas and feel that networking groups may help. So what is this modern networking all about and how does it differ from the old-fashioned networking where you simply kept in regular touch with your friends, peers and business colleagues?

Here is some good news. There is no fundamental difference. Networking, in both the personal and the business sense, will always be about building solid, quality relationships over time.

Modern business networking groups are basically groups of business people who meet regularly for networking purposes and business growth.

The bad news is that a great many modern business networking groups are actually profit generating businesses in their own right. Attendance of the various groups can be quite expensive for new or expanding businesses. Getting the fundamentals of networking right can, however, more than recoup the outlay in terms of business generated and profits made. As with all aspects of running a business, the onus is on you to measure this Return on Investment (ROI) and act appropriately to ensure that you are where you want to be at all times.

As this article is aimed at business networking, I will talk about using the “Know, Like and Trust” approach and why it is an excellent way to go. It is a proven and repeatable process that will stand you in good stead. As with so much in life, the more time and effort you put into the process, the better the results you will obtain.

Remember that business networking should never be about selling – you should be engaged in quality relationship building. You may of course sell early on if conditions prove ideal but that is not your primary aim. Pushy salespeople will be easily get to the Know stage but rarely any further.

At the Know stage of the process you are aiming to build a network of people who know about you and know about your business. You should commit to being consistent in attending events and make a real effort to keep in regular contact with your developing network group. The members of your network group will then see you much more and therefore get to know you much more. You will be on their collective radar. At this stage you will get to know them as well. You may well know many, if not all, of the network group within quite a short time. You will begin, hopefully, to move into the Like sector.

Reaching the Like stage is not actually about being liked in the sense of “I like Andy, he’s a really great guy”, although being liked in this way is obviously a real bonus. Rather, you will be liked as in accepted as a serious and consistent business person with a good business offering. The members of the networking group who like you would readily consider asking for your advice or input and might even consider referring you if the opportunity arose.

Bear in mind here that you are aiming for quality business relationships. You will not be liked by all members of the group and, in turn, you will not like all of the group members. It is unrealistic to think otherwise. The numbers in your network circle at each stage of know, like and trust process should reduce. It is simply a factor of the time available to spend on maintaining each relationship and the depth of the various relationships. You have to go for quality over quantity if all parties in the deeper relationships are to benefit.

The real business benefits start at the Trust stage of the process. Here, people will genuinely want to work with you or have you do work for them and they will happily recommend you to others if asked. They may even become advocates for you; actively and enthusiastically looking for opportunities for you, as they work with their own clients and customers. This group should be your networking core. You will form close bonds and you will likely become good friends with them. You will likely be acting as their advocates as well. You will have to earn this trust and maintain it well. Remember, what goes around comes around in the world of business and business networking.

How To Create A Successful Business Network

Posted on November 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

Networking: What Is It?

In his famous book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill explains at length the benefits of the Master Mind. OK, so just what is a Master Mind? As Napoleon puts it, the Master Mind is the “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”.

The great American industrialists of the early 20th Century had Master Mind groups. Andrew Carnegie was said to have had a group of over 50 men who came together with the definite purpose of manufacturing steel. Henry Ford gathered experts with the sole purpose of building cars.

Today, Master Mind groups exist all over the planet… not just in the Corporate world, but also amongst small business owners as well. In many cases they exist as Business Networks. Every day of the week, you can find these formal networks of business people meeting over breakfast, lunch or dinner. From all walks of life, you will find florists, retailers, artists, internet marketers and handymen mixing with accountants, lawyers, electricians, finance consultants and personal trainers.

So, what can a beauty consultant and a plumber have in common? Probably not much to begin with, but as they get to know each other they begin to realise that they can make some great contacts by networking. For instance, plumbers have wives and they know other women. The beauty consultant sometimes needs her hot water system replaced. What about a florist and a handyman? The handyman needs flowers for special occasions like Mothers Day, birthdays and Valentines Day. The florist needs odd jobs done around her home and shop. Each of them know other businesspeople and they have customers. Business owners will refer business if they know that you do a good job. It makes sense because they are adding value to their customer’s lives at no additional cost.

Creating Your Network

There are 5 easy steps to creating a successful business network.

Step 1: Do a Google search for business networks in your area.

Step 2: Visit 3 or 4 of these events. Make a couple of strong contacts at each event by asking then about themselves and their business and then arrange to meet with them for coffee over the next few days.

Step 3: Resist the temptation to “push” your product or service onto them. They will ask you in good time.

Step 4: When you meet with your new contacts, ask more questions about them and their business. Don’t forget to throw in a few questions about their preferred network event. You can get lots of information here that will help you decide which one to join. Once again, curb the excitement you have for your business. Your goal is to learn all you can about your new friend.

Step 5: Make a decision to join at least one business network as soon as you feel comfortable.

Networking is all about building rapport, trust and welcoming new friends and important colleagues into your life. If you are friendly and you show genuine interest in your new friends, you will have no trouble creating your own little business network. From this group can eventually spring the Master Mind that Napoleon Hill speaks about in his book. The ideas that a group like this can come up with are startling. It’s incredible what happens when like-minded people get together. If you haven’t tried networking yet, why not? Do it now.

Take Your Business Networking to a New Level

Posted on November 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

For any business, effective networking is an essential component to success. Today, though, the landscape of business networking has changed dramatically. No longer does business networking exclusively involve standing in a crowded room of people, meeting and greeting with total strangers, and exchanging numerous business cards. While such traditional networking is still valid and effective, e-networking done via business social networking sites is just as valuable.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about social networking sites, the fact is that they are here to stay. Sure, they’ll evolve over the years and will likely look very different than they do today, but ultimately they’ll still exist. And while purely “social” social networking sites can have a business aspect to them, it’s important for business owners, executives, and managers to have a strong presence on the tried and true business networking sites (example: LinkedIn).

Why? Because your clients, customers, colleagues, and others look to business networking sites for evidence of your character. For example, when a prospect is thinking about doing business with you, he or she will likely do a social media search for you. Never before did average people have the ability to research anyone or any company they wanted. While in the past background checks were expensive and time-consuming, these days a few mouse clicks and keystrokes can pull up a goldmine of information. That’s why you and your company need to be on business networking sites…and you need to be using the e-networking sites effectively.

The following suggestions will help you become a savvy e-networker with a positive online presence.

• Don’t be a contact collector; be a contact cultivator.

The goal of any networking endeavor is to build relationships, not just to collect business cards. E-networking is no different. If you’ve been on any business networking sites, you’ve likely seen people with 500+ connections. At first you may think, “Wow, that person sure knows a lot of people.” But does he or she really know those connections? Or is this person just collecting contacts?

Rather than accepting and sending invitations to anyone, be mindful of whom you connect with. When you do make a connection with someone, look over his or her profile and then add a personal note to the person where you indicate a shared interest, club, affiliation, etc. For example, you could respond to someone by writing, “I see you attended Northwestern University (or are a member of the Miami Business Association, or have a pet beagle…). I have a similar interest in that I (also attended Northwestern…am a member of the Tulsa Business Association…. have a dog named Snoopy…etc.).” You get the idea. Find a shared interest to build upon that will make you stand out and open the lines for real communication later.

• Have a clear purpose.

Many people think they’re going to get business from being on social media sites. While you can get business from your online activities, this shouldn’t be your ultimate purpose. Rather, your purpose should be to make people aware of who you are by sharing your expertise.

Any business networking site is a place for you to give, not just to get. So to get business from your e-networking activities, you have to contribute meaningful content. You can find many groups to belong to that have strong conversations going. If you post something in the discussion that’s smart and useful (good content), then chances are someone will ask to connect with you. Now you have more people to share your message with.

Other examples of good content are asking thought-provoking questions, posting a motivational quote, and sharing a business tip. No matter what you post, if you get a reply, acknowledge the person for their feedback or contribution. Just as you can’t take people for granted in the brick and mortar world, you can’t take them for granted in the virtual world either. Everyone who reacts to your content is a potential relationship and you need to treat them as such.

When you’re replying to a question someone else poses, try to answer in the early part of the conversation rather than after 100 others have already replied. You want your answer to be in that first page of results. That way anyone who replies after you sees your photo and business information every time. With that said, pay close attention to what the question is and don’t answer anything capriciously. Always remember that your reply is posted forever.

• Add some personal flair to your profile.

Even though this is business, it’s okay to put some personal flair to your profile. After all, no one is all business all the time. Chances are you have some interesting hobbies or other areas of your life that people find intriguing. For example, maybe you collect antique cars, breed prize-winning poodles, tend a vineyard in your backyard, or have the city’s largest yo-yo collection. These are interesting tidbits of yourself that you can weave into your profile to make you appear more “real.”

Additionally, look at the tools and widgets the business networking sites make available to you and use them. You can do such things as post your reading list, link your blog, upload your Twitter feed, and many others. People can get to know you by these additional applications. Even better, they’re very user-friendly and easy to integrate into your business networking persona.

A New Twist on an Old Tool

We are currently in the biggest social media experiment in the world. Those who embrace business e-networking now are essentially the pioneers who will shape how this tool gets implemented and how it evolves. As you move forward, however, remember that your involvement with business networking sites should be just one small aspect of your business building efforts; it’s definitely not an end-all approach for getting business. Essentially, when you use today’s business e-networking tools effectively, you’ll have one more way to connect with clients and prospects so you can build your business and boost your bottom line.

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