Do You Need to Network?

Well in a short answer: No. BUT if you want to increase business, it is one of the most effective business strategies. It’s an opportunity for new referrals, clients or joint partnerships. Network with past employers, fellow employees, friends or family. It’s important not to burn bridges if you want to continue increasing the number of opportunities.

You may have heard this before, but whenever you meet with someone it’s important to have a speech. When I say speech, I mean that “30-second elevator speech”…though not always in the elevator. You want it long enough to get your point across, yet short enough to where you don’t bore anyone or come off as a salesperson. Another way to estimate the time is to keep a 90-word maximum. The result is a speech that is 30 seconds or less.

In your speech you want:

  • Your name. (har har!)
  • Brief statement about your company and what business you’re in
  • What you can provide to that specific person. Meaning: find out what it is they need, what they’re problems are, and find a way to solve them. Also state the benefits of having you as a business partner. (Find a way to sum this all up)
  • Pleasant goodbyes, followed by a handshake. **Oh, and be sure to give them your card somewhere during this time
  • .

    That said, please go to networking events prepared! I can’t emphasize this enough, as I have witnessed a few business people who think shoving their cards around is networking. No, no, no…follow this advice for Entrepreneur.com. They explain the speech etiquette more detail.

    How to find networking events

    Here’s an awesome site that lists 10 places that can help you find local events. Some common websites are Facebook and Meetup.com. I’m not too sure about Facebook but perhaps when you find and join the right Facebook groups, it can be useful.

    Happy hounding! I mean…hunting.

    I would like to add one more thing: This is why a lot of small to medium size companies remain stagnant. If the company wants to grow and make more sales, they will have to step out of the box –and network. Actively seek other opportunities instead of continuing to rely on a few high-end clients. As a result, business won’t stagnate or decline if current relationships weaken. New clients have more potential for new sale opportunities.