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Black Connect
by on August 19, 2019
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Last week we discussed the 7 personalities you need on your team to grow your business.  Now you're amped and ready to start putting your dream team together.  However, if you're asking yourself:  Where do I start?  How do I find these different personalities and persuade them to join my team?  Start here.

Networking is one of the currencies of the 21st century. If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to grow your network. Your network is as essential as your business itself.

You can't build a business alone. Entrepreneurs often undervalue the power of networking, and this mistake could significantly limit your opportunities for growth and expansion. There's a difference between having a "contact" and having a "relationship."  Going from the former to the latter requires technique. 

With the right networking skills, you will be able to attract business partners, build your team, garner trust, and increase sales. So, if you are an entrepreneur, it's time to hone your networking skills. 

Here are 5 easy tips for growing your network as an entrepreneur:

 

#1. Be Genuine and Authentic

In the words of Brene Brown, "Authenticity has to do with letting go of whom you think you ought to have been and embrace who you truly are." As an entrepreneur, your goal is to create long-lasting, meaningful relationships built on trust and mutual respect.  

First impressions are important.  Don't misrepresent yourself or your business or come off like a salesperson. You will attract the right people if you are genuine and authentic. Often too, it's not what you say, it's how you say it.  Be mindful of your voice and tone.

Don't have ulterior motives. Let people see the sincerity in everything you do.  Find a common interest outside of the business that can deepen the relationship and create another opportunity to interact.  Invite the person to a sporting event, charity event, or your favorite restaurant.

Try to make genuine connections in your business interactions. Your character defines you, and once you are found to be bogus, it will be harder to build your network. 


#2. Don't Make It All About You

Networking is all about developing a mutually beneficial rapport. Look for ways and opportunities that you can add value to the people you want to establish a relationship with:

  • Refer new clients
  • Offer marketing leads
  • Recommend vendors
  • Provide online reviews

 

If you want to nurture a networking relationship, you must be willing to offer something beneficial to the other party. As an entrepreneur, you can quickly grow your network by being thoughtful.  Your thoughtfulness will make others naturally return the favor. 

 

#3. Be Willing To Learn

Entrepreneurship involves trial and error, and the path to success is rarely a smooth one. Every successful entrepreneur faces his or her share of trials and tribulations.  If you want to expand your network, you can't be a know-it-all.  

There are 7 personalities you need on your team, and you can learn something from each one. Be willing to listen and learn from professionals and successful entrepreneurs.  

Give your undivided attention to anyone willing to share their experiences with you.  Take every valuable opportunity for real-world learning that you can't get in a classroom. Ask questions.  Get advice and feedback on your ideas and gather different opinions on what works, what doesn't work, and how to handle various challenges. 

Being a good listener is an easy way to create a lasting impression.


#4. Keep In Touch

Don't call on your connections only when you need help or want something.  You will come across as self-centered, and people may start to avoid your calls. Make an effort to reach out to your business contacts just to say hello, offer a lead, or recognize a special occasion.

Just like any other relationship, nurturing a business relationship requires effort, regular communication, and follow-up.

Entrepreneurs should remember Michelle Obama's quote:  "Success isn't about how much money you make, but the difference you make in people's lives."

#5.  Express Gratitude and Appreciation

Expressing gratitude and appreciation to someone who has taken an interest in your business seems like a no-brainer, but many entrepreneurs overlook this simple networking tool.  

Showing appreciation for someone's act of kindness sends a message that you respect and value the person's time, opinion, and the assistance she or he has rendered. It's a natural gesture that if you make someone feel valued, he or she will be more inclined to continue to engage with you and your business. A little appreciation can go a long way.  The smallest gesture will build rapport and trust and leave a favorable impression of you and your business.

Final Words

As an entrepreneur, your character becomes your business reputation.  Use every networking opportunity to leave an impression that will cause everyone to want to cultivate a relationship with you and help you win.
 

Posted in: Business