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Can You Think out of the Box or will you be Stuck In It?

Mon, 02 May 2016 by Kathleen Hawkins

Expand your horizons to find new business opportunities

Often we tend to focus on the side of our business we prefer to do while avoiding the daily grind of paperwork and marketing so necessary to keep the bills paid. This mindset may result in activities but are the activities building your business and generating revenue? If you don’t continually foster new relationships, you will lose out on potential business required to maintain a healthy client base. In this economy, especially, you need to think outside of the box when it comes to business development. 

 Redefine “networking”

For many of us, the idea of networking, or socializing with strangers, is something we dread. To make it easier, redefine the word to mean building a relationship based on honesty and trust and an interest in one another. By thinking about how you can help others, you can develop businesses that give you a healthier bottom line. Consider everyone in the room a potential friend. If you take some of the pressure off yourself, networking can become a pleasant event that allows you to establish new contacts, hear business ideas, and gain motivation. 

Five tips for easier networking 

1. Always ask for a person’s name and what they do, before introducing yourself. This creates an open dialog and helps make a positive first impression.

 2. Create a list of the businesses you want to work with to make sure you meet the key people for your business. If possible, research who you want to meet prior to the event and work on getting them invited to attend as well. 

3. Remember, that you need to take an active role in any networking organization you join. The more involved you become the more likely others will remember and refer you. It is not about selling to the people in the room the focus should always be on selling through people in the room.

 4. Find a role model and observe how they promote their business to learn from their experience and success. Ask that person to become your mentor and have her work with you to think out of the box and develop powerful and profitable relationships. Surround yourself with people that are smarter, wiser, and more successful and you will grow. Mastermind with mentors. 

5. Follow-up with the people you meet. When you ask for a business card, contact that person after the meeting to let them know you enjoyed meeting them, or to follow up on the conservation you had. Add them to your contacts list. You might even want to schedule time together after the meeting to share more ideas about each other’s business. 

Know what makes you unique 

When you network, you are selling yourself. Know what makes you special, and be able to clearly articulate it when asked, “What do you do?” Become known as a powerful resource for others; the person to know. Remain visible by sending out cards, using marketing software, connecting via social media or developing a client newsletter. If you take the time to make business friends and form alliances, or in other words, network, you might be surprised at how much more you enjoy and benefit from the experience!