6 Steps to Improved Business Networking

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Many business owners struggle with networking.

According to Harvard Business Review Blogs,

­­“…networking has the potential to dramatically enhance our careers; making new connections can introduce us to valuable new information, job opportunities, and more. But despite that fact, many of us are doing it wrong — and I don’t just mean the banal error of trading business cards at a corporate function and not following up properly. Many executives, even when they desperately want to cultivate a new contact, aren’t sure how to get noticed and make the right impression.”

Why is networking a necessary business function?

Douglas Hart experienced first hand how valuable “results oriented networking” can be, “It was through the networking skills that I developed…that I eventually discovered the right people at the right firm where I am currently pursuing my new career.”

There is essential truth and insight in Dorie Clark’s closing note in her HBR article,

“Networking is possibly the most valuable professional activity we can undertake. But too often, we’re inadvertently sabotaging our own best efforts by misreading power dynamics, failing to give first, and not making our value proposition clear. Fixing those crucial flaws can help us connect with the people we want and need to meet to develop our careers.”

Results Oriented Networking

Consider including results oriented networking in your business success plan.  By ‘results oriented’ I mean that you set the intention to meet qualified contacts.  You use a networking process that produces results by way of new leads, develops client prospects in your target market, and realizes valuable referrals.

Follow our steps to improve and deepen connections created via business networking:

  1. Adopt the Mindset.  Networking is a Mindset.  Networking means connecting and building long-lasting relationships.  Think of it as a way to make new business associates and friends.
  2. Get comfortable.  How do you become comfortable with networking? Arrive early, see yourself as a greeter, be enthusiastic, invite a friend to meet you there, move around in the crowd, and introduce contacts to others.
  3. Make a connection.  How does that happen?  When you make a new friend or contact for your business, you make the introduction, show interest in them, ask questions to learn about them, remain positive, express a compliment, then relate when you discover something you have in common.  By all means, smile, listen, and engage.  Be helpful.  Offer the value of a resource that applies to their professional interest.
  4. Plan the next meeting.  Set the intention to reconnect.  When you take this step, it shows that you have a true interest in learning more about them, identifying their need, and cultivating a way to be of service.
  5. Follow-Up.  Add your new connections’ contact information to your database with notes on where you met them, topics you discussed, what impressed you, and your next form of communication.  Follow-up is the key to achieve results oriented networking rather than simply meeting new people.
  6. Communicate.  Stay in touch.  Whether with an email, call, or appointment, they all matter in the process of building relationships.  Stay connected!  It makes every networking event a worthwhile business effort.

In summary:

The value of building relationships is a critical factor in growing your business.  Without it, you limit your ability to develop new business or even maintain your current business.  Networking makes your business stronger and more profitable by positioning you as a leader in your field.  Need to sharpen your networking skills?  Need help learning which networking events are right for you?  I would welcome the opportunity to assist.

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Refocus To Spring Forward

“The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.” —Lao Tzu
By: Gerard McGovern

 

Are you standing still?  Feeling stuck?  Needing encouragement?

Do you feel like you are not moving forward in a positive direction to attain your goals? Then REFOCUS is the answer.

When do you refocus

What does refocus mean? Refocus is to change emphasis or direction. If you find yourself

  • fearful,
  • overwhelmed,
  • unable to get in the flow of joy and accomplishment,

then it may be time to evaluate the cause.  What’s holding you back? Consider your options.  What is the ONE thing you can do today to change the emphasis of your business?  Your life?  Give yourself a good enough reason to move forward.

A great example in the corporate world is how Starbucks reconnected to their core values and refocused on delivering impeccable customer service, essentially restarting the company. I highly recommend Onward by Howard Schultz, How Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul.

Begin to refocus

Not sure the direction in which to start or restart?  Visualize what motivated you to launch your business, change careers, or take on a new project.  What did that look like? What do you truly love?  Are you willing to take the first step toward recapturing your vision?

Progress begins when you do what is most meaningful to you.  It allows you to gain confidence and fulfillment in service to others by giving what you love most.  If you could use assistance in creating options and understanding what is holding you back, then let’s make the connection. You don’t have to walk this path alone…

The Value of Time and Decisions

Become aware of what’s important every day. By: Barta IV

Become aware of what’s important

In our Business Success Dynamics Mastermind sessions, we have identified that every decision matters.  When we think about all of the distractions and drains on our time and energy, it is necessary that we know our most productive time of day and focus on high outcome for that time period.  We are also aware of planned events and appointments.  It is our responsibility to schedule around those to maximize results.  Purposefully set your own agenda.  Concentrate on what’s important, not what’s unimportant.  Know yourself.  Make good choices.

Block off time for what’s important

Consider intentional time blocking.  What will this mean for you?  How will this impact your productivity?  What can you let go of?  What freedom and peace of mind will you enjoy?

“It’s not what you do one day; it’s what you do every day.”

How’s Your Vision?

How's your vision

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

Six Ingredients of a Good Life – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review

Always look up to your fresh start. Bloom.

As we get into the New Year, how are you feeling about your direction? Are you using negative self-talk to undermine yourself or are you recognizing your strengths, appreciating them and growing?

Tony Schwartz has a few really good points in this article that we can all use.

“Consistently sacrificing yourself to serve others is ultimately no better than focusing solely on yourself at the expense of others.

Selfishness is about making your own gratification paramount. Self-care is about making sure you’re addressing your own most basic needs, so you’re freed and fueled to also add value to others.”

via Six Ingredients of a Good Life – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

The New Year Equals Opportunity

Shirlie New Year's WishThe New Year is looming for some who find the “start” it represents ominous; a call to achieve. I prefer to look at it as an opportunity.

We control what is done, what is intended and how we get there.

With coaching help you can create a plan, identify the action steps and find yourself where you want to be.

Join me at The Woodlands in Summerville at 4 p.m. on January 5th  for a Mastermind Discussion “Beyond Resolutions.”

Please let me know you are attending.

Today Show on Civility

The Today Show series on civility had a profound impact on me. The suggestion that we be more present in what we are doing and aware of the impact of our actions on the world around us is something that is important for us all.

Here is the first in the series that examines all the ways our culture is being changed and effected by our pop culture. This one aired on November 1, 2010.

Here is the video from the Today Show episode on November 2, 2010. This video discusses how technology provides opportunity for us to be rude.

On this video, the question of “what has happened to please and Thank You?” is discussed. Here is the video  from November 3, 2010.

Mastermind Forum: What Value Do You Bring to Your Customers?

The Dynamics of Creating Value:

Join me at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 29, at Oscar’s, 207 West 5th North St., Summerville, SC 29483-6511, where I’ll host a Mastermind event.

This gathering is part of the series of Mastermind discussions led by me to help you improve your business balance. Please RSVP by clicking the button below.

We’re talking about how to create superior customer value:

We’re discussing how to be creative in the marketplace, how to be truly present for your customers, and what distinguishes you in the marketplace.

We’re establishing the Value Paradigm:

  • Creating the core concepts of the customer experience that exceed expectation.
  • Embracing customer-driven, value-creating methods to gain the competitive edge.
  • Creating and retaining loyal customers by delivery of service, dedication, quality and value.

Reserve Your Place

Photo credit: Flickr user Office Now

Mastermind Group Event Announced



Business Success Dynamics Logo

Save the Date for the Mastermind Group!

September 29, 2010

The Dynamics of Creating Value: “What Value Do You Bring to Your Customers”

Join the Mastermind Group for an Interactive Discussion

5 p.m., Oscar’s Restaurant, 207 West 5th North St., Summerville, SC 29483

There is no cost to attend.  Appetizers & full menu available

at your own cost.

True leadership

The path to true leadership

Leadership….a human activity

“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. Leadership is about inspiration—of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine.

More than anything else today, followers believe they are part of a system, a process that lacks heart. If there is one thing a leader can do to connect with followers at a human, or better still a spiritual level, it is to become engaged with them fully, to share experiences and emotions, and to set aside the processes of leadership we have learned by rote.” ~Lance Secretan, Industry Week, 10/12/98

Begin your journey to true leadership

Your journey to great leadership begins with an inward quest to understand your true goals and visions. As a coach, I assist you in the seeking and examination that can put you on the path of true leadership.

Set up a time to talk to me about where you can go by embracing the journey.

*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user purplbutrfly

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