On networking. A great New Financial Year Resolution.

It was this time in 2008 I set myself the goal to spend the next financial year deliberately networking and growing my circle of business connections on the coast.

My goal was to have a meal or coffee with a new person every week for 52 weeks. By far the best business and career development decision I ever made.

To challenge myself I put a few names on the list of people who I knew I would have to work hard to get an audience with. These were people, who at the time, were out of my proverbial reach. But, I even got them!  In fact several of them ended up chasing me.

The quickest way to come across 52 candidates are:

  • Join several networking groups.  Eg  BNI.
  • Don’t limit yourself to a particular industry or person type.
  • Be bold and ask ask ask.
  • Pay for the meal or coffee. (Word gets around if you are stingy)

Have a favorite place to meet and get to know the wait staff well. This just looks impressive. I had an account at a local diner which saved valuable time during the meetings also.

The monetary return on investment was partly immediate but it’s best to go in with a long term view on return. I would have to say, within 12-24 months, it increased my market worth two-fold. No lie.

The personal return is impossible to measure because I gained some great friends in the process.

So give yourself a worthy financial year goal like I did. Your confidence in your ability and market worth will grow.  You’ll meet some great people. You’ll learn some highly valuable people skills. AND you’ll drink plenty of coffee… and that’s always a great thing!

2 Comments

  1. Tim July 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Hey Dave – great idea.

    As a bit of an introvert, I find it difficult to get out of my shell and make these connections, but I’m finding that It’s becoming more and more necessary to what I do.

    Thanks for the tips!

  2. David Tensen July 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Hi Tim,

    One of the challenges of being a musician, is that quite often we find ourselves very comfortable with being alone with our creativity. Before I did this exercise I was really quite comfortable, and in fact made excuses for not getting out there and drumming up business. What I found was that business as a sole trader is very difficult for the introverted personality because promotion and networking is really what will kickstart your business – from then on, if you have a great product word-of-mouth will most likely get out and you won’t have to work as hard networking etc.. If nobody knows about your business, you will have no clients, and no food on the table.

    An exercise like this taught me that I was not as introverted as I thought. Being a creative person, you will learn that you can switch very comfortably between an introverted workspace and an extroverted workspace because it also requires right brain creativity. For example, analyzing people, analyzing other businesses, creating relationships, finding creative ways to connect with others.

    This article I came across recently really helped me to understand the innovative personalityand it may help you also http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201106/cultivating-creativity/the-innovative-personality.

    Keen to know how you go and move forward

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