Starting a business the smart way – AFTER Professional Networking
What we like to call professional networking – is networking with strategy rather than just aimlessly. Doing so BEFORE you start to build a business makes the whole process much more smooth.
Not only do you start off with a network of people ready to refer contacts to you (because they trust you). But you also get access to a huge variety of wisdom, mentorship and opinions from those you network with.
Don’t have a business yet?
The truth is that not having a business, might put you in a better position!
Often people come up with an idea without researching much and turn it into a business. What follows is usually a struggle to control the business and generate time and/or money from it. People often find themselves being worked by the business – rather than the business generating what they want. They ask themselves eventually, “what happened to my vision for the great life this venture was supposed to deliver?”
So by having not started, you have the freedom to find something that works for you and research it properly.
Think about what you want from the business. Is it more time and more money, with less risk? More often than not, that is the case.
In order to achieve these goals – you need to gain the wisdom of others who have been there before. If you get perspective from others, you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Think about it as if there were two worlds operating, earth 1 and on a slightly later timeline – earth 2. If earth 2 did not learn from the mistakes of earth 1, it would be doomed to repeat them. But, if earth 2 were to lean over and ask earth 1 “hey, that whole ‘world war’ thing – why’d that happen? How could I stop that?” – wouldn’t that be beneficial?
Fortunately for budding business owners, there’s a huge community of veteran business owners who can advise them on what to do, and what to avoid when it comes to starting a business.
Consider building your professional network first!
As mentioned above – no harm can come by seeking advice before starting a business. Focusing on getting advice and perspective from others, rather than finding the ‘right idea’ is a much, much better starting option. This way, you can make sure you put your personal goals ahead of the goals for your venture. People don’t have a problem, usually, coming up with a great idea. What they do have a problem with is getting traction with those ideas – and making it into a business that works for them.
Anyone who has had a shower has had a great idea. The game changers are those who can make ideas happen.
Warning – spending a lot of money with Marketing ‘experts’ may result in a lot of expenditure with very little to show for it. You don’t need to spend money to bounce ideas off experts or jump into online advertising straight away. While building your network you will have considerable amounts of time to present ideas to people that you trust.
More importantly – building your professional network will give you access to countless ideas and opportunities.
In the process of building your network, many people will discuss their great ideas with you and you will then have the ability to either partner with them or they may offer you a referral arrangement.
The bigger your network, the more opportunities you will come across, and the higher the chance that you will find people and ideas which you strongly align with and see opportunity in. You enhance your opportunity to build additional low risk streams of income.
In addition, by building your network first – you develop the greatest asset – a network of connections. You become the person who can make an idea happen – because you ca put the idea in front of the right people.
All throughout this process – you aren’t investing, loaning, or ultimately risking anything. The worst that could happen, is you finish the process with a large network of know, like and trust relationships.
In addition, when building your network first – you have the ability to advocate for others first. By doing so, you earn their trust in advance of needing it. You ‘dig the well’ before you need the water and make the transition into starting a business so much easier when the time comes. Your contacts will willingly advocate for you and greatly enhance your chances of achieving rapid success.
What if I already have a business?
If you’re someone who already has a business and is looking to grow it – then be aware that it takes time to build trust.
You essentially have two options when looking to use networking to generate more business.
Firstly you could bounce between networking events, trying to meet as many people as possible. Handing out your card to everyone you can, hoping one will give you a call.
Secondly, you could find a networking group that is expanding and willingly contribute to it, advocate for others, and get to know the other core members who do the same.
Doesn’t option two just make more sense? You are more memorable and respected when you are consistent and valuable to the same group of people. Then by bringing in additional people to this group (along with everyone else) – you will be the center of your own growing network. Instead of being on the outside of someone else’s.
But by building your network consistently around other people doing the same, you can be certain you will develop trust.
TRUST = ADVOCACY = COLLABORATION = BUSINESS GROWTH
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