Why Networking is Necessary to Build Your Business

I’m a big proponent of networking.  Not only is it a fabulous way to meet like-minded business owners like yourself, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to receive quality leads and referrals.

The key to success in any networking group is easy: commitment.  Be an active, professional, engaging member that contributes to and respects your fellow networkers by supporting them.

Sound familiar does it?

It should because just like in business (or sales), networking all comes down to relationship building (in July I wrote about cultivating quality relationships, be sure to check it out).  Everyone knows we want to do business with people we know, like and trust, so what better way to attract new clients than from people you ALREADY know, like and trust?!

With all of the options out there how do you decide which networking group you should join?

Well, start by asking yourself a few questions…

  1. What do I want to accomplish by joining a networking group?
  2. Am I willing to refer other business owners to my family/friends?
  3. Do I have the time to commit to this group?
  4. Do the members of a prospective group align with your values and beliefs?

A few mistakes I’ve noticed at some of the groups I’m familiar with…

  1. People don’t view the meetings as a commitment.  If you want to see results (gain leads/referrals/do business) you need to put the time in!  Just like any other business meeting, put your weekly, monthly, whatever the frequency, networking group on the calendar.
  2. Taking calls and checking their phone constantly throughout the meeting.  Would you rudely pull up your email or text messages in front of a client during a scheduled meeting?  No way!  So don’t do it when you’re amongst your peers, it’s just being a good professional. As my mentor says (she wrote a book with this title), “They Way You Do Anything, Is the Way You Do Everything”.  Realize that how you show up at networking meetings is a direct reflection of how you show up elsewhere, including with referrals.
  3. Don’t be a lame referral source.  Some newbies join and are all hyped up and excited to do business so they write up leads for everyone and their brother.  Only those leads are dead ends.  Make sure you leads are genuine business opportunities for someone and the person you write down on the form is actually expecting a phone call.

In the end, networking and the act of giving out referrals to those trusted professionals you’ve cultivated relationships with is just good business karma. You are creating a win/win/win for your network, the business owner receiving the lead and yourself as being a great connector.

What you get out of a networking group is typically in direct proportion to what you give.  Just remember to give in the spirit of giving, not giving to get.

Have you had success with networking groups?  Do you think they are worth the time and efforts?

In the meantime let’s chat!  Sign up for a complimentary Strategy Call and let’s get you grounded and ready for your best year yet in 2016!

To Your Continued and Ever Growing Success,

Dana

How to Work ON Your Business Versus IN Your Business

Work On Your BusinessYou’re a small business owner who wears a whole lot of different hats… you’re a sales person,client service deliverer, organizer, manager, mediator, problem solver, bookkeeper and decision maker among (many, many) other things.

With that said, do you know if all of those roles have you working ON your business or IN your business?

What I mean by that is this:  When you work IN your business you’re putting in countless hours in an effort to get your business to grow, and are heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, managing every single detail.  Simply put, you’re just a doer.  Positioned more as working a job, NOT running your business.

On the flip side, when you work ON your business you take on the role of leader instead of doer.

Here are a few of the best tips I’ve learned over the years about how to work on your business.

1. Choose Wisely

This one is huge.  Learn how to hire the right people for the job.  When you surround yourself with trustworthy, hard working vendors and/or employees who’s goals and values align with your business, you’re golden.

This means you won’t be constantly worrying about their performance and if “stuff” is actually getting done.  It allows you to focus on growing your business and not the smaller trivial tasks.

Bonus tip: If you need a little help in 5 different areas, hire 5 people who’s top strength falls into you area of need to support you on an as needed/part-time basis.  If this is one of their top strengths and something they enjoy doing the most, they will naturally attack what you need done first over other clients or other projects.  This is not the time to hire a “jack of all trades and master of none.”

2. Train Properly

While we’re on the subject of hiring, the next logical step is to mentor and train your support team properly.  It’s your role as a leader to equip your team with the skills and understanding of your business that they need in order to work to their fullest potential.

A properly trained team will make your life easier in the end.  Create a solid system with consistency and you’ll have a well-oiled machine at the core of your business.

3. Know What’s Important

Your business’s reputation and customer’s satisfaction are key to success and they are ultimately determined by what your business expects of itself.  Set your own standards high, and make sure they’re well thought out, planned and executed.  This creates a road map for your employees and customers.

What are your company’s core values?  Every member of your team should know and live by those morals, values and expectations.

4.  Pass the Batton

Know when to delegate.  I cannot stress this enough.  You really cannot work on your business if you’re doing everything yourself.  That in itself is the definition of working IN your business, doing it all!  This after all, is why you recruit and hire the right people.  See the trend we’ve got going on here?

Will things not always get done perfectly when you delegate?  Yes.  And you can afford to mend occasional mistakes more than you can afford to do everything yourself.

5.  Listen More

Always, always, always listen to what others have to say (and prepare yourself for the truth!).  It’s ok not to know everything. In fact it makes you more human and gives you an opportunity to go find the answer and report back (giving you another chance to impress your client, prospective client or potential partner).

You should always be learning, this separates the true leaders from the wannabes; the ability to adapt and change if need be.  Feedback is a wonderful tool to help build and grow your business.

A final thought I’ll leave you with… if you’re only making decisions that will affect your business in the next 30 days you’re probably making the wrong decisions.  Focus on the opportunities and possible obstacles you could face down the road, way down the road even instead of only immediate activities (instant gratification).  Building a business is about creating today’s money and tomorrow’s money on a daily basis.

With less then 90 days left in 2016, let’s get you working on your business instead of in it.  Schedule a complimentary Strategy Call with me today.

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success,

Dana