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!