What Is Business Networking, Anyway?
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Sorting Out Who's Who - By Ivan R. Misner
Business networking is leveraging your business and personal connections to bring you a regular supply of new business. The concept sounds simple, doesn't it? Don't let that fool you, though. Because it involves relationship building, it can be a deceptively complex process.
Think about it. How many people do you know? How many of these people truly understand what you do? How many of these folks have directed prospects to you as referrals? And how many of those referrals have actually turned into business?
Business networking is much more than showing up at networking functions, shaking a
lot of hands and collecting a bunch of cards.
For example, imagine two people attending an event, sizing it up and drawing an imaginary line down the middle. They separate, each taking half the room. At the end of the event, they meet again to see who's collected the most business cards.
Have you met these people? Sure you have. We all have. What did they accomplish? They collected a lot of cards that will end up on a shelf, in a drawer, in the trash, or--worse yet--scanned into a computer so they can spam everyone they just met. Why? What does a business card represent? It's a piece of paper, with ink and images on it. No relationship has been formed. This networking strategy, by itself, isn't an effective use of time, money or energy.
Some people get frustrated with networking because they seem to be making as much progress as a rear-wheel-drive truck on an icy hill: one foot forward, 10 feet back--getting nowhere fast.
Networking for business growth must be strategic and focused. Not everyone you meet can help move your business forward--but everything you do can be driven by the intention to grow your business. You have total control over whom you meet, where you meet them and how you develop and leverage relationships for mutual benefit. You have total control over whether you enter into the unique 29 percent of the population that is separated by six degrees (read The 29% Solution to learn more), whether you stay there, or whether you never get there at all.
Networking your business means you have to be proactive. The core of networking is doing something specific each week that is focused on networking for business growth. Make a plan, focus and be consistent. When you understand exactly what business networking is and step up to the challenge, you'll find avenues of opportunity that you may have otherwise never discovered, and you will be making an invaluable investment in the steady growth of your business.
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Sorting Out Who's Who - By Ivan R. Misner
About the Author: Ivan R. Misner
RSS for Ivan's articles - Visit Ivan's website
Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder & Chairman of BNI, the world's largest business networking organization. BNI was founded in 1985. The organization has over 5,800 chapters throughout every populated continent of the world. Last year alone, BNI generated 6.5 million referrals resulting in $2.8 billion dollars worth of business for its members.
Called the "Father of Modern Networking" by CNN and the "Networking Guru" by Entrepreneur magazine, Dr. Misner is considered one of the world's leading experts on business networking and has been a keynote speaker for major corporations and associations throughout the world. He has been featured in the L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times, as well as numerous TV and radio shows including CNN, CNBC, and the BBC in London.
Dr. Misner is on the Board of Trustees for the University of La Verne. He is also the Founder of the BNI-Misner Foundation and was recently named "Humanitarian of the Year" by a Southern California newspaper. He is married and lives with his wife Elisabeth and their three children in Claremont, CA. In his spare time!!! he is also an amateur magician and a black belt in karate.
Click here to visit Ivan's website.
More from Ivan R. Misner
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