A smart business owner need smart business tools. One of the smartest business tools I know of is business networking! It will help you build a smarter business if you consistently network as part of your business plan.
Networking is all about collaboration. Working together to help each other. The need to constantly grow, change and innovate in today’s business landscape requires a new approach to connect, communicate and collaborate, inside and outside your business, to accelerate revenues and build strong collaborative networks.
We all agreed that collaboration with others to help build your business is good, yet it is often feared that we might reveal some of our secrets that may help the competition. I believe there is so much more that can be done when we work and bring our strengths together. The benefits are obvious. When you collaborate, you build team – a structured environment to further business through quality relationships – a professional group of associates personally invested in your success. You share ideas.
You find solutions to problems and issues that others have already experienced. You reduce your business risks when you collaborate with others. You develop a positive support system where everyone is working for the greater good of all concerned. These people will go out of their way to recommend your goods and services without being asked or expecting anything in return.
When you collaborate you learn to avoid the concept of competition. You no longer fear it. You embrace it and use it to your advantage. There is always something the other person can do that you cannot do (and vice versa) that you can share without giving away all your secrets.
And collaboration is fun too! Please fully acknowledge the fun part. People are social animals, we like to be together with people we like and trust, and with people that have energy and commitment to share ideas without the fear of competition. The synergy of the group is key to its success.
Networking is more than business leads, networking meetings and meeting new clients. I doubt seriously that people who think this way are probably spending lots of time getting to know very little about the many people they meet. How about really getting to know the people you already know.
“Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships.” ~ H. Ross Perot
Networking is about creating a community of like-minded professionals who can and will willingly support you in what you are up to in life. You need to connect with people who are moving in a similar direction, share a similar goal and common interests. Every business needs sincere, reliable business partners. Be interested, not interesting. When you actually collaborate, you truly get connected with people you like and together you take networking to a higher level.
In past articles I’ve written about business networking, I stressed the importance of developing relationships first before you get down to the business of exchanging business leads or doing business together. That comes first before the serious collaboration I’m speaking of above. Most of the networking collaboration I’ve been involved with occurs outside the realm of networking meetings and events. It’s usually a few close friends and business associates that get together – outside the networking meetings arena – to brainstorm ideas to help one another grow their businesses.
You first must determine who you should be networking with to create opportunities for each other, then go about building on these friendships through collaboration. Many of these people will be people you already know, like & trust. Start there. Invest time in these important relationships. Meet up with them and find out if there is anything you can do to support them.
The best way to acquire information and ideas for your business is to pursue those who are doing or have down what you want relentlessly and surround yourself with more people who are pursuing similar goals.
Real networking is a collaborative activity where you get to build a sustainable path to market everyone’s businesses for the long term. It’s fun. It’s exciting! And. . . it works!
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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