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  • Why Tactics Without Strategy is a Recipe for Networking Frustration

    Are you heavy on tactics and light on strategy when it comes to networking for your business? You’ll know if you’re feeling at all frustrated that the time you’ve put in is far outweighed by the meager results you’ve gotten out.

    Trouble is that when we get into this situation we think we need to do more, and we look for solutions in the form of other tactics that we might not have tried yet. But imagine if you took 5 random ingredients from your refrigerator and threw them into a sauté pan. What are the chances you’d have a finished dish that you’d actually want to eat?

    Then what if you added another ingredient to the pan, and another and another?  Think the end product would get more appetizing? Not likely.

    Yet that’s what so many people do to remedy networking that isn’t working. Adding more and more stuff to an incoherent mess and getting further and further away from enjoying a satisfying, yummy, filling meal. In fact, after all that work, most likely they’ll be hungrier than ever.

    A tasteful and successful dish

    Crafting a successful dish in the kitchen starts with having a fairly good idea of what you want the dish to be, deciding what it should look like and taste like in your mind first. Only then can you choose the right ingredients to create it. It won’t work the opposite way. You can’t make beef wellington with Caesar salad ingredients no matter how skilled in the kitchen you are.

    It’s the same thing with networking. You need to have a good idea of the kind of help you’re looking for and who might be able to give you that help before you venture out online or in person to meet them. Otherwise you’ll have too many people in your network, nice folks as they may be, who can’t give you the kind of help you need and not enough of the people who can.

    A strategy helps you narrow down where to spend your networking time. That’s especially important for entrepreneurs and business owners who know that every minute spent on networking is time they’re not spending on client service and other key business responsibilities.

    And let’s face it, none of us has unlimited time to network, nor unlimited time to wait for networking to work. We want to do the things and be in the places that will give us the greatest likelihood of meeting the right people. But to do this, we need to focus on the who before the how.

    When you’re compiling your list of key relationships to build for your business, be sure to consider these different groups:

    Those with specialized knowledge

    Speaking with folks who can give insight, advice and market intelligence on key industry trends, news and people can help you find hidden opportunities to capitalize on.


    Those who actively network

    People who are active on social networking sites or who frequently attend networking events will be valuable not only because they understand the concept of networking, but also because they have a large network to connect you to and a steady inflow of new contacts.

    Those who’ve already achieved

    Having role models who’ve already accomplished the goals you’ve set for yourself can be inspirational, and they can help you shortcut your road to success by giving you firsthand advice on the mistakes to avoid.

    Those with access to money

    You’ll never know when you might need a small business loan, private investment or some other form of financing for your business.

    Keep in mind that being deliberate and focused about who you network with doesn’t give you license to be a jerk to everyone else. You want to be friendly and respectful to everybody you meet and never burn bridges. Even if you don’t think someone can help you, they could be of great help to someone you know.

    Author:

    Want to craft a coherent networking and business development strategy for YOUR business? Enroll in the next Smart Networking tele-course led by Liz Lynch, founder of the Center for Networking Excellence and author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online (McGraw-Hill, 2008).

    About

    Liz is author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and a sought-after speaker who brings a practical and insightful perspective to networking that has connected with a global audience. Her printed and audio products have sold on six continents, she’s been invited to speak at conferences and organizations around the world, and her writings have been translated into multiple languages. Liz is also founder of the Center for Networking Excellence, a company that develops products, programs and seminars to help entrepreneurs and professionals get clients, build their businesses, and accelerate their careers through networking.

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