Articles Tagged ‘Resource’

Network even if you aren’t looking for business

Friday, January 28th, 2011


Many business owners look at what marketing efforts brought positive results, and which ones did not. Networking is certainly a key marketing effort, and many decide they have enough business, so choose to (incorrectly) stop going to networking events or business gatherings. Here is some food for thought for 2011.

Go to any networking meeting and the conversations include people sharing with each other who they want to meet and what they’re currently looking for to help grow their business. Sometimes a person will even state that they don’t need anything. Business is great, revenues are on target and their goals are being met.

So, why are they still networking? The first and foremost reason to network is to meet people and begin building relationships for a variety of reasons. Business might be good at the moment, but you never know when your best customer is no longer a customer. Or you might change your goals, decide to grow, hire more employees – whatever the scenario – and additional business will be needed to meet your projections.

Building relationships is not an overnight happening. Rather than starting to meet new people, you’re much better off if you already have a network in place. Then, when needs change, you will have resources ready to assist you.

There are many of other reasons, besides business, to network. Do you enjoy speaking, and have a topic that would be of interest to others? Use your networks to help you find speaking opportunities. Civic organizations are often looking for someone to provide an interesting talk at their meetings. The next time you’re at a networking event, let people know you’re looking for this opportunity.

Are you a volunteer for a non-profit organization? Think of how many business owners and management-level decision-makers are in attendance at each meeting. If you’ve built a relationship with them, your requests for donations will often result in success. I served on a silent auction committee for quite a few years, and just a few conversations, phone calls or emails resulted in a variety of unique and valuable items. Without my network of professionals and business owners, I would have had to knock on doors and ask total strangers for donations. This most likely would not have achieved near the results.

Are you a professional who likes to be known as the ‘go-to’ person for your clients and others? Building a great list of people you know and trust will give you that ability. When people know you as a resource, you are more valuable than the others in your industry. And when they need a realtor, mortgage broker or insurance agent (you insert your profession), they will most likely remember you because you’ve previously helped them. And you’ll be at the top of their list of people they refer because you were so helpful to them.

Networking isn’t just about other businesses. Don’t forget about family and friends. A friend needed an attorney, and asked who I would recommend. A neighbor wanted to find a new insurance agent, and I was able to refer a few to choose from. My son’s air conditioner quit working when it was 90 degrees. He called me, and the relationship I had developed with an HVAC company put him at the top of the list for immediate service.

The opportunities to become a great resource are numerous. Being able to help others is a good reason in itself to network. Not only did I help my neighbor, friend and son, I also sent business to people who I have developed a relationship with. And that has great value!

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC

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