Recently Magic 95.9 hosted the Minority Business Exchange “The Art of Networking” event at the ReginaldF.LewisMuseum in Baltimore, MD. The event was filled with future business owners and current business owners who were there to “network” with each other.
I know you heard the age old saying, “Your Network is Your Net-worth” but what does that really mean actually? I interpret as meaning that the more people you know, the better chances you have of meeting someone who can help you achieve your goals. Simply put it, networking is the process of developing a strong relationship that are beneficial to both parties to attain an objective.
Is not about what you know but who you know and who knows you!
Robert Kiyosaki author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad” said, “The richest people in the world build networks. Everyone else looks for work.” If you aren’t actively building a network of people who can help you then you’re wasting time. Achieving success by yourself, is hard and damn near impossible.
So how does it work Civ…well let be school you:
- First know what you want to do. Have a clear vision of your goals and what you need to get there. Is it fiancés, mentor, leadership, people…what is it that you need. Only you can define this. Even if it starts off as just a little blurb that enough gas in your tank to get you going.
- Know what you’re brining to the table. What are your talents, strengths, weakness, resources etc…Brag about yourself with a tad bit of cockiness but a whole lot of confidence while still respecting the other person in conversation. Remember networking is an “I wash your back, You wash my back” scenario. Why would anyone want to do business with you? You better know this.
- Invest in yourself. This is where your promo and marketing products come into play. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend start of with a business card. Then constantly set money aside to build up your marketing and promo materials. Also it is important to have a 30sec -1min pitch/introduction ready about you and your business.
- Attend networking events and other social gatherings. How is anyone going to know about you or your business if your not there. However when you go, go for a purpose. Don’t just hold up the wall watching everyone else be social. Pull up your big girl panties, grab your nuts and get out there shake hands and kiss babies. (Side-note: to find out about this gatherings do research on events that are happening in your area, join groups you’re interested in, check out the chamber of commerce etc…)
- Your follow up is what seals the deal. This is where I slack at the most. My follow up sucks. I have so many business cards and I don’t follow up as much as I should. But follow up’s is sending a simple email reintroducing yourself, recapping what you all talked about and setting up another time to meet in the future. Now if you find that you have nothing to meet about right now, don’t throw the contact away. You can send out a nice message 1-2x a season (6-8 a year) to touch bases and letting that person know you’re interested in doing business.
- Social Networks is crucial. It is important to be online. If your business is not online you do not exist. Join social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Now there are others out there but these are the top. I can write a whole post by itself on social networks but keep in mind these principles:
- Your profile needs to be the best presentation of your self. Do not post pictures, comments or do activities that going to harmful to you or your business. People DO JUDGE YOU. I certainly do.
- Do not spam people online with your product or services that you know what benefit from it.
- Be active. Join conversations with your followers at least 2-3times a week with different people.
- If it makes since meet with that person off line but always bring another person with you…just in case.
Networking is apart of the process. You might as well get use to it.
Join me on my social networks, every thing is @civjones
Here are some pictures from the event.