Forget about awkward interactions and stale cheese plates. Real networking isn’t painful. It isn’t about tacky events, schmoozing sales people and uncomfortable socializing. Real networking is an ongoing effort to cultivate relationships.
In my latest article for Entrepreneur.com, I share the 4 key groups you must consider when building your network:
1. Clients and customers.
2. Peers and colleagues.
4. Referral sources.
Here’s an excerpt:
It's impossible to do everything by yourself, especially when you’re self-employed and trying to grow your own business. That's why networking is absolutely essential to your success.
But networking isn’t about tacky events, schmoozing sales people and uncomfortable socializing. It is simply a way of looking at and living in the world. Whether you’re a solopreneur, or you have employees, your network is your most important asset. It has to be intentional, rather than happenstance. You must know what and who you need, then figure out what’s missing, so you can find it.
The first step is determining what you can do yourself and what others can do for you better than you can. This takes practice, but once you figure it out, you will need to develop four different categories of relationships within your network. Make a spreadsheet with the following four categories and begin to fill out names of people you know in each to determine where you might need more connections.
*Cheese cubes, courtesy, Shutterstock.