Networking. Just the word can make me cringe.
I like the idea of meeting fellow business owners and having a chat. I really like hearing about what other people do and what services they offer. I even like swapping business cards and connecting on LinkedIn.
What I don’t like is trying to get out of the door on time to a networking event as a busy parent, partner and business manager.
It goes like this.
I see the invitation and I think ‘YES’ count me in.
I write it down in my diary and I RSVP to the event.
I plan the day to ensure I can get there on time for the event.
Then something happens.
It gets tangled, muddled and slid to the side as important deadlines creep, children have an urgent need that must be attended to and schedules gets stretched.
At this point if it is a work project for a client, I would always work out a solution. But…it’s networking so I think I’ll just take a rain check and get there next time.
I still want to meet with my colleagues, learn about new businesses and share in services of use to my clients and theirs.
So I have found a strategy and it is working for me. I created a mini network of my own allies.
It looks a little like this: look back at who you have worked with that you would happily recommend their services. Who followed through on their promises and always met their deadlines? Who has referred work to you and taken up work that you have referred to them?
Create a shortlist of those names and reach out to them to see if they would be happy to be part of your referral network.
When a client next needs a graphic designer, an event planner, a public relations specialist, a web developer, a photographer – refer to your list.
You can feel confident knowing you are referring to a reliable network of proven allies and enabling a system which maintains your reputation and theirs.
Who can you add to your network list today?
B.Comms (Journalism & Public Relations)