Articles Tagged ‘Business Networking’

ARE YOU A LAZY NETWORKER? 6 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Are you a lazy networker? I find that most people who are networking for the purpose of getting referrals are actually pretty lazy. Few people do any real homework on their target market, have no clue who they want to do business with or be connected to, have no systems for tracking, and most never even bother to follow-up.

There are so many things that you have to do to get good referrals, but somehow there is a belief that if you run around and spew enough knowledge about what you do, then people will trust you and send you business. It is lazy person networking.

Here is a list of things you must do to be able to get quality referrals from your network.

1. You must know your Target Market. If you do not know who you want to do business with then you cannot expect others to know either, most of my clients find this the hardest thing to come up with. Anybody who needs, is not a target market. Hire a professional to help you
2. You must be willing to go out and find referrals for your network. Everyone I meet just wants to spend all their time talking about themselves and their business. It’s easier to talk about me than it is to learn enough from my network members and talk about them.
3. Track your activities, your time, your money, and your results. If you don’t track how will you know what is working and what is not. Who is giving you referrals, when was the last time that you talked to your network members, how many referrals have you passed to your network? All of these are very important things for you to know about your activities.
4. You might have to make it to meetings, some in the morning, afternoon or evening. So many people do not want regular appointments just in case they don’t feel like getting up and going. Heck it is easier to sit at home and network online, I can do that in my jammies after all.
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Navigation vs. Planning

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

When you are in the middle of creating a start-up business there is one key thing to remember; the market, like “god”, paraphrasing the Irish limerick, will laugh at your plan. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a plan, a product path or even where you are going with your business. Your plan will not make a business get off the ground. You must navigate. You must take the market, your talent, your light house clients, your network, your investors and your technology and be ok going off- plan but continuing to navigate toward your goal.

Pilots have flight plans. They work very hard at executing those plans, but they also know that the wind, the inclement weather and other ongoing flight patterns may take them off course. When they do that they use their gauges and data to make good decisions on how and where to adjust. As an entrepreneur you need to do the same thing. You need to look at your gauges and the data to make good decisions on how to modify your plan.

Your gauges are your team, your customers and the market that are telling you where to go. Your financials, your sales data and your marketing data tell you what is working in marketing and your product and service and how that they need to evolve.

Listen to your gauges and make decisions from your data and you will arrive!

Tony Scelzo
Rainmakers Marketing Group
317-216-6345
Tony@gorainmakers.com

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5 PROBLEMS YOU COULD AVOID BY HAVING A TARGET MARKET AS PART OF YOUR REFERRAL STRATEGY

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I met with one of my clients yesterday and we talked about his target market, I had a conversation with a friend who runs her business and we talked about her target market. I had a phone call with a potential referral partner to discuss our referral strategy and we talked about our target market.

It seems that Target Market is an important subject, and one that every business should focus on clarifying. So why does it seem so difficult, for businesses and solopreneurs to identify a target market? Not having clarity on this topic creates a whole host of problems;

1. You spend your marketing money using an ineffective shotgun approach that nets low value results.

2. You find yourself networking at completely inappropriate places. If I sell cars and I know that 65% of all new car purchasing decisions are made by women, then I am going to go network with women and other businesses who sell to women, not a room full of men.

3. You end up having the wrong conversations with the wrong people at the wrong time. Because you are looking for anybody who needs your services you waste a lot of time talking to everybody even when they are the wrong somebodies.

4. You cannot develop a good referral partner and you end up with a lot of sources who are referring you low level, low value leads. A good referral partner has the exact same target market as you do, you are focused and you have a strategy for developing referrals.

5. You miss great opportunities because you are so busy taking care of the low value clients and customers that your high value opportunities are passed by.

10% of your clients create 80% of your income and 10% of your clients suck up 80% of your time and generate little income, why would you use shotgun approaches that only net you more of the latter? If you focus on the top 10%, spend your time and money seeking more of them, the other 80% will just show up and you will be able to regularly clear out the bottom 10% thus freeing up your time to nurture the top 10%.

Hazel Walker
Referral Institute, llc
BNI
hazel@bni.com

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Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Today, innovation moves almost at the speed of thought. The business model you had, the job you had and the services you provide could very easily be outdated in the same decade they were created. What does that mean to you as a business owner or CEO?

Work on your culture more than you work on your strategy. Create an organization where ideas thrive and where failure is a badge of courage rather than a black mark on your reputation. Allow new ideas to develop and flourish and be celebrated as well as enjoying failure. Run controlled business experiments where there is an acceptable loss or failure. Try things that are on gut or hunch because of the style and trends that you “feel” are moving in the right direction for the initiative.

Create a “Creative Culture” or even a “skunk works” division of your company that can and does fail because it is their job. I have been speaking a lot recently to West Coast and East Coast technology executives and the most important reason they feel that 74% of the Venture Capital in the US raised goes to Silicon Valley rather than all the other hotbeds of technology across the US, is the culture of the valley celebrates failure as well as innovation.

I am not telling you to spend willy-nilly money on any new idea that marketing brings you. I am telling you that you should have a line item in the P & L to run the experiment. If you don’t, the competition that has this type of culture will be beating you soon.

Tony Scelzo
Rainmakers Marketing Group
317-216-6345
Tony@gorainmakers.com

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