“The richest people in the world look for and build networks while everyone else looks for work” says business Author, Robert Kiyosaki. Summarily, networks lead to work. The rich and powerful understand the necessity and process for developing circuits of substance; networks. Often hungry for the next client, project, engagement or job, entrepreneurs often overlook the value of identifying, nurturing and mobilizing strategic alliances. These three “N’s for networking are simple and easy to remember:
1. Name – your destination. Answer these questions when setting strategies for expanding your network:
• Where are you looking to go?
• What goals and objectives are you looking to achieve?
• What type of expertise, investment, support or mentoring can help move your idea, project or business towards its next win?
• Who do you need in your arsenal?
• Where can you find these folks? –
• Where are you most likely to encounter these conduits?
List and prioritize whom you will seek to coalesce – sometimes that will mean venturing across industries and areas of expertise. Recognize what you will offer- networking is reciprocal. Consider why they would want you in their network. Develop a timeline for meeting, vetting and exploring potentials- not everyone meeting your criterion will be an automatic fit.
2. Nurture – new affiliations. Serving up a business card, following on Twitter and liking on Facebook does not a network make! Establish genuine points of connection and commonalities- beyond business or projects. Ask questions and demonstrate a willingness to learn. Share your areas of expertise, random acts of kindness, business leads and opportunities – demonstrate why having you in their network is beneficial. Brian Tracy, Author and Motivational Speaker reminds, “Small and large companies throughout the country and the world are realizing that individuals selling to their friends and associates is the future of sales, because the critical element in buying is trust.”
3. Network – your network. Listen for opportunities to connect members of your newly developed network with others who may not know each other. Becoming a connector and conduit for others demonstrates your willingness to invest in their development; furthering their trust in you. Establish and maintain a routine for communicating- personally. Work your network and repeat the process at strategic junctions to maintain an upward trajectory. After-all, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer” explains Dale Carnegie.
Network building is mostly organic, but having a plan and salient strategies leads to relationships that propel and transcend industries, sectors and geographies. Name, nurture, network and work and business will come.