The concept of networking can mean different things to different people, but at its simplest, it’s about building supportive relationships.
The relationships that you create with local professionals can significantly improve the growth of your business. A strong network of local professionals can also be a way to provide more value to your clients as a trusted resource that they turn to for guidance.
As you develop your own approach to networking, consider creating a strategy that has these characteristics to significantly increase the value of your efforts.
Develop a Strategy
Being able to answer questions, that focus your self-awareness, is the first step to creating value in your networking strategy.
- What do you want to accomplish by networking?
- Are there different networking tactics that make sense for your different networking goals?
- How many connections can you reasonably and meaningfully manage at a given time?
- How will you keep track of the who and what of your network? What can you offer to your network?
Those who get the most out of networking take the long view when it comes to connecting with other professionals. This means making a commitment to nurture those relationships over time. Develop a cadence of communication that makes sense for your respective and mutual goals.
Keep in touch with these connections by occasionally checking in with a holiday email or offering kudos for the promotion they added to LinkedIn.
Give Before You Get
Take the time to learn about someone’s business and find ways to help them grow and be successful. One of the most effective ways to develop a relationship is to invest in their services. Reciprocity is a powerful force and the more that you give, the more that you will get in return. Helping someone create success in their profession will motivate them to help you be successful in your profession.
The more people that you help, the more networks you will be able to access, and your business will grow exponentially.
Focus on Wide-ranging
It is certainly beneficial to get to know many people in your industry. If that connection is in alignment with your immediate goals for networking like: securing a promotion or finding a position in another company.
However, it is also important to connect with people who share other personal or professional dimensions with you. This will give you a deep and diverse network and position you to be what Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point calls the Connector. It is valuable and powerful to hear a need from someone in one area of your network and then put them together with someone who can help from a different area. By building and leveraging your network in this way, the wide-ranging relationships you have can help you broadcast and amplify your voice in diverse networks in return.
Start building your network today by visiting the East Bay Business Exchange in San Ramon.
East Bay Business Exchange is a local referral group of business owners and professionals. We meet every Wednesday in San Ramon, California. Our mission is to help each other’s business grow. Members in our group represent different professions (offers different products / services).
We are always looking for high-quality, local professionals to join our group. Contact East Bay Business Exchange today to learn more about our networking group.