In "A Charlie Brown's Christmas," poor Charlie Brown is feeling disconnected and discouraged.
Turning to the only psychologist he knows for advice, Lucy tells him, "You need involvement," which leads him to accept the role as director of the Christmas play.
Well, if you're looking to build connections for you and your business, then you need involvement, too. Networking requires you to know other people, and successful entrepreneurs know the best way to do that is to be involved.
In a recent post, Entrepreneur.com blogger Ivan Misner says you have to go the extra mile. "Take the initiative in developing a relationship with someone who could be of help to you in networking your business," he suggests.
So, take advantage of opportunities to be involved in your community and relevant business organizations.
Here's how you can benefit:
+ Learn about the important issues in your community or neighborhood and be a part of solving problems and developing and enhancing the area where you and your family live, work, and go to school.
+ Find out the important issues pertaining to business and your industry. Work with other leaders to promote a healthy environment for your business to succeed.
+ Meet other leaders who can be great assets to your network, as well as great examples of achievement. Watch them in action and take notes!
+ Build up the talents and skills you already have and use the experiences to make you wiser and more business-savvy.
+ Help someone who needs it! Service to those less fortunate or those in difficult situations is one way to give back to your community, not to mention the perfect way to connect you to the community at large and gain perspective about your own situation.
+ Feel good about what you can do for others!
+ Establish yourself as a leader. Your willingness to take a leadership role will tell others that you are not afraid of responsibility, and that you're willing to work hard to reach goals.
Why this matters...
Involvement in such activities establishes YOU as a credible source of business information. Instead of telling people that you are great at what you do, you're able to show them. When they need information or more in-depth business services, they will know who to call.
One note of caution: you don't have to go out and join every organization you can think of. You owe it to yourself, your business, and others in the organization to commit the time needed to be an effective participant. Focus your talents in organizations that mean something to you and ultimately help you fulfill your business goals.