Starting and building a business can be a lonely business. I have seen this first hand. Similarly, the people that you surround yourself will determine your success or failure.
Everything we do revolves around relationships, wouldn’t you agree? Your family life. Success in your current role. The success of your business. Your ability to grow, as an individual and as a business owner, etc. The list goes on. The world revolves around the people in it and the relationships they form.
So how can you ensure you ‘surround’ yourself with the right people? Whether you’re employed, running a business or thinking of starting a new business; a sure-fire way to build relationships that are going to help you is to attend networking events.
These events take many different forms. From conferences to dedicated regular meetings. Breakfast meetings to networking parties. There are tons of models out there. Formalised, diarised meetings and informal ‘Meetup’ events.
From a personal perspective, given our interest in property investment, my Wife and I try to attend property networking events specific to the area we live in here in the UK. That means we meet people living and breathing property who have connections and advice for people like us starting out.
Here are just 5 invaluable benefits we get out of attending those events. You get to:
- surround yourself with people who have a shared interest
- keep informed about ‘live’ discussion topics affecting your industry or vocation
- find people who can help you overcome challenges you might be facing – after all, a problem shared is a problem halved (proverb)
- create value exchange by giving back or sharing your experience
- create a network of contacts with whom you might end up working.
There are many more advantages, but these are amongst the most profound reasons for getting out of your ‘comfort zone’ and out of the house during your spare time to help you and your business move forward in a meaningful way.
Another really smart and innovative way to build relations, particularly with people you perhaps respect and admire from afar is to follow the model that my good friend Lesley Calland has made her own – create a Coffee List. I really encourage you to read her story – in a few minutes, I want you to finish up here first 😉 – I am convinced you will recognize a number of the suggestions I too have made over recent days here on the blog.
Of course, I’m mindful networking comes easier to some people than others. Perhaps you are someone who feels apprehensive about walking into a room of strangers? So here’s an idea. Why not find a friend or a partner to take along with you, at least to the first meeting, so you get over your anxieties. By the time you make a return visit, you will, more likely than not, actually recognize some people from your first trip.
Perhaps you are uncertain you will be able to add any value to others there? Let me say this to you. If you are reading this article and you’ve got this far, there definitely WILL be something you can bring to the table that others will benefit from and see value in. You have built up a heck of a lot of life experience. You have overcome challenges and problems. Heck, you may even have invented something, started a company or gained a load of experience in the same field, industry or company, which other people would give handsomely to learn about.
How do you determine what that something is? Well, you could ‘ask’ (see yesterday’s post). Perhaps the group(s) you identify have a Facebook page or a website. Why not take a look through those online resources for clues about what topics they cover that you may know something about. You don’t necessarily have to be working in the same space already, but look at the ‘transferrable skills’ you bring and see how you might be able to adapt your experience to this new audience.
So, here’s the thing. If you want to grow your business you simply have to get out there, meet people, strike up new relationships and exchange value with people who are ready, willing and able to help you in return. There will be tons of those people around. Once you know where to look it will become evident to you. Also, networking is rather like change. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Perhaps today’s article has nudged you into taking a little action? Are you finding this series of any use? Please leave a comment below and do join the discussion on Twitter. Remember to use the hashtag: #CHA30DayChallenge
Thanks for stopping by and see you for more tomorrow friends!
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