As a business owner, part of my job is constantly meeting new people.
Recently someone asked me how to define the value of a network, the question was about putting a ‘value’ on the return on investment for membership fees and time spent at events.
What a great question!
Like many, I am a member of a number of networking groups, and what I know to be absolutely true is this.
When we show up, when we play the game, when we invest in ourselves with time and energy to follow the process of a network, results will come.
I think the interesting thing is defining, how does the ‘value’ appear?
For many, the focus is 100% on the dollar, how much money they make from their time and effort at a network, which is important don’t get me wrong, and something I strongly recommend people do.
With that said, I believe there are many other benefits that are not highlighted in their marketing.
Things like friendship, I have been a member of my local BNI for 3 ½ years and have made some amazing local connections. I recently caught up with Miranda Claire, also a BNI member from Sydney who shared how she met her partner, her best friend and now has an incredible network from her consistent presence at her local chapter….it’s taken a good few years for this to happen.
You will often hear me say a famous quote from Mother Theresa…’be faithful to the small and the big will come.’
People know people, know people. It’s taking the time to connect and find out about the other person with zero expectation of reciprocation, however, more often than not, it does come without you having to ask for it.
Remember that person I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the one who was asking about ‘value’…that person has generated over $20,000 in connections from an introduction I made a while back, into my various networks.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, we all know how lonely, frustrating and painful running a business can be. It can be darn near impossible to work out where to put our time…and our money.
Tips To Successful Networking
#1 Check out local events, online events, and national and international networks, and be a part of more than one. Find your people.
I am a part of my local BNI, my local Business Chamber and an International Borderless Network, all based on different things but a great way for me to connect and collaborate, locally, nationally and internationally.
Where I chose to network is built on values, here are some that I hold dear.
#2 Show Up, Show Up, Show Up
Recently I was speaking to a business owner from Edmonton about growing her reach in Australia.
The number ONE tip I have is to show up, turn up and connect. Come to events, and once an event is over, follow up…if you look at the screen (if you are on Zoom) and think the person in front of you is not a potential client, you have missed the point.
You don’t know who knows who, and that person on the screen may introduce you to your perfect referral partner.
#3 Follow The Process
Every network has its own set of nuances, a process…it is up to you to follow it.
At BNI the process is super clear, and expectations are obvious.
When you follow the process, it will look after you.
#4 Consistency Is Key
It can be difficult to remain consistent with everything else that is going on, and the ROI is not obvious, nor is it instant.
Create your own ‘follow up’ process, something I am personally working on to be better at.
Create a method that works for you and if meeting one new person at each event is your thing, then do just that.
Put these four tactics into action and watch the results from your networking…BOOM! You WILL see results if you stick to it!