The Networking Mistake Most Entrepreneurs Make

I’m a reformed anti-networker. That’s because I had a horrible experience at my first networking event when the woman I tried to talk to accused me of trying to sell her and left the room. I’ve since come to understand the real power of networking. It’s about giving, not taking. It’s about connecting, not selling. Here are a few other pointers from Punit Arora’s article for the Entrepreneur:

Sow your seeds strategically. Don’t spread yourself too thin  or spend all your time with a few close buddies. The relationships that work  best in the entrepreneurial context are ones that are close, but not too close,  according to a recent study in the Journal of Business Venturing.

Encourage cross-pollination. Your network is actually  composed of several networks from work to school to sports to your neighborhood.  The more  you can act as a bridge for your connections across various networks, the better  your chances of enlisting their help.

Think variety, not quantity. You do not want your contacts to be  so similar that all the information and resources you get are redundant or so  different that you have nothing in common.

Read more:

Networking can be fun especially if you start to see the same friendly faces over the years and use the opportunity to catch up. It is a bond of humans getting together for the same common purpose and sharing their precious time with each other.

I still have to push myself out of the house to do it at times when my practice is busy and I’ve got a full roster of clients but I see it everyday with my clients and competitors that to stop networking because I’m already busy with clients is the death knell on the future of my business. I refuse to do that to myself.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

3 Things You Wish People Would Say While Networking

Businessman with Food Stuck in his TeethAs a small business growth coach, I find myself at networking meetings 2-3 times a week. These are some of the things I wish for in my head for someone to sometimes say…

1. Excuse me, you have something black in your teeth

This one killed me as I got into my car one night after a networking event with 60 men and women and spotted myself in the mirror. I do regular washroom visits to check now but come on—couldn’t one person have taken pity and told me?

2. I’m not really into what you do
Sometimes when there’s no match, there’s no match. The person you meet doesn’t need your services. I wish they would just be straight and try to help with something else you need instead, like if you’re looking for a VA or to buy some IT consulting or a husband.

3. My biz is in big trouble and I don’t have a clue what to do
At times I’ve felt that people are in deep marketing pain and they need me desperately as a branding coach but are not willing to ask what it takes to get my help.  I’ve even had people pump me for brainstorming ideas for marketing their business while I’m struggling with peeling a shrimp with my teeth, but it doesn’t faze them.  I’d much rather you came clean and set up an appointment to talk about hiring me instead.

So if the next time you see me at a networking event and the above thoughts are crossing through your head, I give you full permission to say it to my face.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk!