I often get asked this question: “How do you develop and/or get your business?”
I rely heavily on my network. The power of the network is a powerful tool. Many people in business are not comfortable with networking and don’t realize its impact on growing their business or identifying business development opportunities.
First, let’s define what the network is. In a nutshell, it’s anyone you may come into contact with.
I view any person I meet from a business or social perspective as a potential client, customer or business partner. Sources of contacts may come from family, friends, social events and/or other professional or personal situations.
Let me share with you a personal story that resulted in business because of the network.
Several months ago, I was working out at a fitness center. Someone asked me how my business was doing. I shared with this person that things were going well, that I had been traveling frequently and was always looking for new business opportunities. As we finished the conversation, a person overheard it and asked if he could continue talking to me. Of course, I said yes. When we finished our workout, we exchanged business cards. He mentioned his company was looking for a new business partner. The conversation continued, and we agreed to have a follow-up discussion.
Did I mention this initial conversation took place on a weekend morning?
Long story short, we had several subsequent phone conversations and then a meeting with the president, where I was asked to come down for a presentation about our capabilities. Ultimately, we were awarded the business.
The point is this: What started out as a casual conversation turned into a business opportunity for which, ultimately, we were selected. I was fortunate to work my network to turn this conversation into new business for my company. That is the power of the network.
I must admit, I am surprised by the number of people in business who are not comfortable networking. When I asked why, the responses generally range from not seeing the value of it or not being confident any business will be generated.
Think of it this way: Nearly 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking — meaning that your next job is likely to come from someone you already know or someone with whom you might be connected in some way. What this means for business is, your network is a powerful tool as you identify new business opportunities. You should leverage this tool — your network.
My question for you is this: What’s holding you back?