How to master your network
A network is probably one of the most important things to ensure an entrepreneur’s success. The more I network, the more clients I find, and the more other entrepreneurs want to get me involved with their projects. I’ve come up with some helpful tips over how to cultivate and build your network quickly and effectively.
1. Create your own network.
Do you have trouble breaking into an already established group? Start your own network. You can use platforms like meetup.com, Linked In groups, or simply host your own parties or workshops to attract the kinds of people you want to do business with. The most interesting thing about creating your own network is that people automatically assume that if you’re the organizer or host of a large group, you must be the most trusted authority on any subjects your group is centered around. As a result, you will find that people within your group will quite frequently introduce you to people that the group feels is helpful to you. You will soon find that everyone you want to talk to or do business with actually comes to you and seeks you out automatically, instead of you having to filter for and find them at events.
2. Volunteer your time.
Often times, you will meet powerful and connected people through volunteering. You can meet other business owners, because like yourself they need assistance making their dreams happen too. There is a fair chance you will meet a Director, Owner or someone connected through the organization just through your volunteering to help a cause, even for a short amount of time. You will also often meet people that are interested and passionate about the same cause. Also, just being social gets you more visibility which helps add more contacts to your network. You may find people that may not be useful to you immediately; however, I find that an entrepreneur is usually willing to trade me something of value in exchange for my ability to connect one person to another valuable resource. For this reason, I always recommend you keep a catalog of who you meet and what kinds of skills they have. This tip is good for everyone involved, and you are doing good things for your community, no matter your networking skills.
3. Build your network.
One of the best ways to keep your network running efficiently is to keep all of your contacts warm. LinkedIn, CRM’s, Meetup.com, Facebook, and other social platforms offer a variety of ways for you to keep all of your contacts engaged and reminded about who you are and what you do. Find ways to keep as personal of a connection as you can with without spamming them. Think about offering something to your contacts that they may want, or find valuable. Even offering your contacts to hang out over drinks or inviting them to an exclusive party can be a way to keep all of your connections close. When you give value to people they will remember you when they are out making new connections within other social circles which extends the reach of your network quickly.
4. Be the connector through introductions.
When you meet a new person, you won’t always be able to feel a mutual use for each other’s skills; however, there usually is someone you know that could use the connection you just met. Rather than throwing a new contact into your archive, introduce them to someone you think that will help them right away and you will leave a long lasting impression. If you introduce two people that are a good fit for each other, they will likely remember the favor for a long time.