I have heard from many people who want to do more in the new year to grow their business network and build their "brand" and reputation. This is a great goal. Since everyone agrees that "people do business with those they know, like and trust", making sure that people know about you and your company is the first step to more business.
I recently heard from a man who is very interested in networking. He began his comments to me that he really understands the importance of a network, and he knows that he has to do for others before they will do for him (many people miss this point). However, he added that he hates networking events, and sees most of the people he meets as "professional time-wasters". He wants to find a way to dive right in, make deep connections and still get home every night to his wife and kids.
While we would all prefer that we only interact with others who are "ideal" people to add to our network and that we quickly build that rapport and trust, it just does not work that way. To make real connections in the business community you need to invest a lot of time, and this will involve some events that do happen during the dinner hour. Sorry, it is just the way it works.
Additionally, you will have to meet a lot of people who you may be able to establish a relationship. Not everyone is "ideal" for your business, but you should not write those people off because you never know who they might know. While their business might not be a match for what you do, they just might be friends with someone else who would be a perfect connection.
To properly build and cultivate relationships in the business community you must focus on networking and make it a priority. Look around, those who are "Well Networked" did not luck into those friendships. They worked over time to create them.
I recently was offered a new job with a fantastic company. I am very excited about the opportunity and look forward to starting in January. A local business person told me yesterday "wow, you are so 'lucky' that they called you". Fortunate, YES. Lucky....NO. I was fortunate that my networking in the local business community over the past few years had allowed me to meet my new co-workers and develop a relationship. I was fortunate that they thought of me when the "Business Development" position opened up. It was NOT luck.
Best of luck to you in growing your business network in 2006. I hope you will consider reading my new book, "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships" (New Year Publishing, 2005). It was a lot of fun to create this book, and it is filled with many useful tips and thought provoking ideas on how to build your own brand through your networking activities. More information is available at www.thomsinger.com.
Have A Great Day.