Building a Network to Grow Your Business
September 4, 2018
Launching or even running a small business can be stressful. And many business owners stretch and try to take on more and more of a growing business’ duties, leaving less and less time to focus on strategic planning or growth. Those same business owners also know that they not only need time to focus, they need time to grow a network.
While the term “networking” is cringe-y at best, if you’re doing business in Southwest Missouri you know your network is worth its weight in gold. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While sure, what you know matters, more often than not it’s who you know that can get your business moving. Networking is the key to getting ahead, and the relationships you build today can help you reach your goals for years to come.
So, keeping in mind that you have limited time, the million-dollar question is (and yes, that could be literal), what’s the most effective way to build connections?
Joe Polish, the man that Richard Branson and Tim Ferris both refer to as the one of the most well-networked individuals in the world, says that it’s important to remember when networking that we need to add value. It’s not about getting the business card or the contact to file away, it’s about looking for ways to help and effectively contribute your time. You may be helping someone make a connection, or giving a referral, or even serving on a board, and by doing so you not only will feel better at the end of the day, you’ll be helping others to achieve their goals. In turn, they look to help you when you need it.
The worst thing you can do at a networking event is spend the evening with someone you know. Sure, it’s easy to only talk to the people you came with, but to make the most of the event you need to break away and meet someone new. Keep in mind, it’s not a race to see how many business cards you can collect or hand out, it’s about taking the time to actually form connections. People love to talk business but they also love to talk about themselves, so walk up to someone new, ask questions, and listen to their answers. They may have a need or problem you can help solve, and you may find you have something in common.
You aren’t limited to stuffy after-hours events or networking lunches to make connections that matter. Emily Merrell, founder and CEO of Six Degrees Society says that every moment is a networking opportunity. From workout classes, sports leagues, adult classes, or the dog park, to the kid’s sporting events, you can meet people and connect authentically. After all, like-minded people are likely to be in the places you frequent, and could very well be the connection you need to learn a new skill, or move your business to the next level.
There are so many ways to network effectively, and in the process build a community to move your business forward. You just need to realize how important new connections can be to your sustained growth, and make time to actually get out there and form new connections. One way that many business owners do that is by outsourcing specialized and tedious tasks (like payroll) to free up the time they need to scale their business. We can help you, and free you up from some of the details. This will allow you to focus on what you do best – building your network and your business.