Networking in business and corporate environments is one of the best resources for career development and business success in all industries. In business and corporate environments, nobody is an island; and to succeed, you need the right people and at the right time. The right network opens doors for any business or corporate person. A great network reduces a long process of prospecting and closing business.
Most successful business owners attribute their success to connecting to great networks who connect them to the right opportunities at the right time. Most Chief Executive Officers and Managing Directors use the power of their networks to solve complex problems and to give their companies advantage over competitors.
I have worked in a number of industries including Telecoms, Media, Pensions, Insurance and Non- governmental organisations, and every network that I have connected to has supported me one way or another to succeed. Indeed, some organisation value employees who come on board with a strong network base. I have been asked a number of times at interviews the strength of my network.
A great network will provide corporate and business leads, possibilities for advancement and opportunities for personal improvement. If you hope to grow your career or business and increase your chances of professional and business success, it is important to understand the urgency of networking in business.
I remember my mentor always said: “Your network is your net worth”.
Your network is made up of all the people you interact with on a daily basis, all of whom could potentially offer you valuable professional or business assistance or guidance directly or indirectly. To create and maintain a beneficial network, you must be intentional if you want to grow and build a solid network.
Family and friends
Often, we underrate the importance of family and friends when building a solid network for our business and corporate purpose. Go through your phone contact list and check the number of contacts you have and you will be shocked at the number of people on your family and friends list who can contribute to your network directly and indirectly.
Old School Associations
A number of us underrate the power of our old school associations. Most people only hang out and not discuss possible business opportunities with members of our old school associations. My friend who won best sales manager in a reputable insurance company attributed her success to her old school association who signed onto her insurance policies, and also connected her to their family, friends and colleagues.
Unfortunately, many corporate people stop talking about business as soon as they get out of their office. I admire how a number of old school associations have taken networking to a different level and while ensuring they support their ‘alma mater’, they also build strong bonds with each other but one can only benefit from these associations when they are intentional and clearly project their business and corporate brand.
Joining social clubs can be another great way to build and maintain a great network. Most people who join social clubs join to fellowship and to work toward a common goal. When people come together to accomplish a common goal and fellowship, a strong social bond is built, thus it is easy to get these people to support your brand and business. There are a number of social clubs and fellowships one can join, but I always say choose a social club you can connect to.
Social media is not just a great way to connect with family and friends, but an amazing way to build and maintain business and professional networks. Many entrepreneurs and corporate professionals underrate the power of social media, especially WhatsApp and Facebook. I have a friend who is in a number of WhatsApp and Facebook groups but complain about not having enough leads for his business.
The key is to belong to positive and productive groups who do not only post videos and pictures but also encourage individuals to promote their brands and businesses. The key to building a powerful network on social media is to build an intentional personal brand that communicates clearly and consistently.
Other ways to network: People you meet at your church, gym, on flights, shops and your neighbours. There are potential networking opportunities everywhere, and making the most of connections like these can be very beneficial for your business or career. Intentionally connecting with the right people and building your network is one of the most important steps you can take to increase your chances of business or corporate success.
Why is it important to network?
Networking gives access to opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. Your network has the potential of ‘connecting you’ and giving you insight to different levels of opportunities and information.
Effective networking will save you the time, stress and effort you might have to use to close a business. Knowing how to use networking effectively can be a powerful tool for any corporate or business person. The best companies place a premium on their Executives having a powerful network pool to close deals instead of spending resources and time prospecting and generating leads. Networking and a great network help to reduce the sales process.
Your network can be an excellent source of new ideas and perspectives for your business and corporate role. This means you have access to free consultancy and support which would have caused you a fortune.
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE NETWORKING
Be proactive and constantly connect with your network
Investing in your network often is important to maintaining beneficial connections. It is always awkward messaging a contact you have not interacted with for a while; they may struggle to recommend you to others especially if they do not know what you have been up to. Building great relationships with your network at all times is key to success. By sending a short text or WhatsApp message to say hello, is a great way to make sure they are willing to help when you need them in future.
Build a mutually beneficial relationship with your network.
Ideally, networking should be mutually beneficial to all parties, it is important to let your network know how you can help them. If you are willing to support your network, they will be more likely to support you.
Don´t sit at home; seek out networking events.
Yes, we are in the era of COVID-19 but you can attend events and take all the necessary safety measures. Socialising in person is still your best chance of creating a successful network. Attending industry events, business seminars, corporate parties and Friday evening outings with your team will expose you to a variety of important contacts.
Most likely, others at these events will also be networking and will be happy to exchange business cards or have a quick business chat with you which can open doors for you. Be abreast with your company’s social calendar, your alma mater’s reunion schedule and generally what activities are being organised in your industry. Use social media to get information and join relevant social media pages and groups.
“I believe your network, or your ability to build and maintain a network of real people and professional relationships is one of the most important assets in your portfolio.”
Delasie Dogbey is a Consultant, Motivational Speaker,Ghostwriter, Writing Coach, Corporate Trainer, Relationship .Delasie is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Ladies War Room Organisation.
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