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Springtime is the perfect season for planting the networking seeds that will grow your business all year long…and you can ENJOY doing it!
Start with a simple strategy, then add on advanced tactics.
Networking has a huge impact on your business’s cash flow. But it’s also easy to operate in an all or nothing mode.
Look, I’ve done it — I’ve been so insanely booked up with work, family, friends, life & travel that I didn’t have ANY networking in my schedule! Months later, I noticed it — my phone wasn’t ringing like it used to.
Then I bounced into extreme networking mode and quickly filled up my schedule, only to find it was hard to find time to do my actual work.
This cycle was creating overwhelm AND an uneven cash flow. The good news is, it’s very, very easy to get off the gerbil wheel and have a networking plan that is simple.
You’ll also have time to meet with the business contacts that you love. You know the ones that you talk to and think “I am sooo lucky to be an Entrepreneur and have a cup of coffee with this person!” or “Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt that way… our conversation was much more than ‘networking’!”
It’s these types of quality relationships that are the seeds you want to plant. It’s going to help you grow a successful business, surrounded by clients & contacts that you love.
I’ve had a LOT of those happy networking experiences lately. But maybe you aren’t feeling that joyful and feeling more like networking is just another TO-DO.
It can be insanely simple to shift networking gears. Forget all the fancy marketing tactics you think you need to do. Start with a simple networking plan which will lead to more success down the line.
Here are 5 steps to get started:
1. Block off time on your calendar.
Sorry, but there is no way around this one…schedule time on a regular basis to devote to networking & followup. Even 5 minutes a day can add up! Decide how much time you’ll have to meet in-person and schedule follow up calls. If you don’t have time to network, none of the other steps will work.
2. Identify your key referral sources.
When you do quality work & people are happy with your product & service, they are happy to tell others. Often, you’ll be able to refer people back to them, too! This is the fastest & easiest way to keep growing your business. Start by seeing how you can help their business. Share their endorsement publicly with a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile & website. Then ask if they know of any new referrals.
3. Look at the networking you are currently doing.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to boost your networking. Is it working for you? Are you getting a ROI on your investment of time, money & energy? If not, it’s time to mix it up. Look for some new networking groups (either in-person or virtual). Many organizations have open houses this time of year, so go and explore your options and pick 1-2 that you’ll focus on.
4. Schedule conversations with your best contacts.
These aren’t “sales calls”, they are conversations to get to know your key contacts better. Meet for coffee or schedule a phone meeting to get caught up with old contacts and get to know new people. Your time is valuable, so you can be selective and limit how many you do and make sure it’s someone that you want to want to establish a long-term relationship with. Avoid people that shove business cards at you and are looking for the quick sale.
5. Use social media.
I’m not talking about fancy tactics — I’m talking about reaching out and saying HELLO! If you are limited on time, take a few minutes to send a message or comment on someone’s activity on their profiles. You can easily find 5 minutes a day to do this — keep it up and it will work!
Networking can really be this simple! Just a few great contacts can help you find new clients and quickly boost your business. Building relationships means long-term success with people that you love to be connected to!
Hello Service-Based Entrepreneur,
I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed by reading blog posts full of ideas, tactics & tools. Be honest...
- How frustrated will you be trying to implement this on your own?
- How much time will you waste if it's not your next best step?
- Did you just take the time to read this but you won't make any changes?
- Or are you ready to take a small next step to build your brand?
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