You probably heard your college advisor(s) say network, network, network. There is no doubt that who you know has a direct impact on success and advancement. At least that’s the case for most of us. Hard work and talent will only get you so far. You need help along the way whether you believe it or not. No one makes it totally on their own. The same is true for a small business.
When we started Spiracle Media in 2011, it was our network of contacts that were essential in getting us off the ground. We knew quite a few people from our time as Charlotte media members. However, it wasn’t a hard sell that got us the business. It was about building on the foundation that had been cultivated over time.
I think there is a misconception out there that networking needs to reap instant results. That approach is totally off base. A business transaction is still a human transaction between two people or teams. As humans, we want to feel a deeper connection and that’s no different in business. You might continually network with someone that will never yield a direct business transaction and that’s just fine.
Networking is about much more than making money and locking down contracts. It’s about sharing advice, stories and making a genuine connection. That’s the mark you need to aim to make with every client or associate you encounter. If you treat people the right way, they’ll notice. They’ll become recurring customers, providers of referrals, drivers of your extended network and contributors to your knowledge base.
Some will share nothing more than advice, wisdom or friendship. Those components will prove to be most valuable in the long run. Everything is better when you surround yourself with friends. Business is no different.