Monday 21 November 2011

Business Networking - What's in it for me?

That's it I've had enough!! I'm not getting anything back so I'm stopping it all, yes all of it. The actual networking, the virtual networking; Facebook groups, Twitter, Linked In and most of all the connecting others who I know can do businesses together.

So have I got your attention? I do hope so.

I suspect, if you are like me and most other people who network for the right reasons, you have had those very thoughts. Unless you are very new to this approach I'd be a bit surprised if you hadn't. In conversation with a long standing friend and fellow entrepreneur today it was certainly a shared frustration around some of what we both do. We were both acutely aware that in the last year we have created hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of opportunity, and actual business, for others, but had a shared challenge in where reciprocal benefit was coming from. Not that we do for the latter, but human nature is such that most of us will at some stage start to think "what's in it for me?"

This conversation highlighted again to me my belief that it is healthy, about twice a year, to have a review of what I'm doing, what I give out and what I get back. By the last I do not mean just money or business either. It's that time of year again and I'm pondering what I shall change. I'd like to explore this with you if I may?

So why do we need to change anything? Well as we all know if we keep doing what we've been doing to date, we will just get what we've been getting to date. So first consideration is are you happy with what you are getting? If not then something has to change. This can be what we are doing, or how we are doing it, who we are doing it with, where, or when, we are doing it. The critical element here is do we, you and I, know what we want in the first place? Have we identified our holly grail for networking outcomes and is it time related? Once this in clear in our minds, preferably written on a large white board for the world to see, then you, or I, and the universe can start working towards delivering it.

So apart from not getting what we might want if we don't change, what are the other risks? Well for a start if we do not evolve, or change, do we, or our businesses, not run the risk of following the Dodo, Dire Wolf and Dinosaurs into extinction. Nothing wrong with that if it's a planned exit strategy, but not so good if it's unexpected! Another effect of not having a clear vision of what we want is that we send out the wrong message, failing to position our proposition, goods or services correctly. End result we attract the "wrong sort of customer" to take us where we want to go.

We all need to take time to sit back and evaluate our networking and what we want from it, to understand this will allow us to better leverage our activity. So I will be taking stock, revisiting what I do, where and when I do it and who I do it with. No I'm not going to stop creating those business opportunities for others, I genuinely believe what we do for others will be paid back to us, somewhere.

A final message for this blog is to shamelessly borrow from John F Kennedy and say ..........

My fellow entrepreneurs, ask not what your contacts can do for you, ask what you can do for your contacts.

So who has helped, or supported, you this year, that you may feel better in yourself, if you helped them before you next meet?

Do share your thoughts on this by leaving a comment and until next time, stay safe and remember that with passion and action you can make things happen.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben

    I heard a while ago that if you have two people in the same room with the same idea then one of them is wasted. Its part of the idea that you need 'creative abrasion' to be really innovative. Different perspectives to move things forward.

    But when it comes to sharing and networking - where we offer information and help authentically without asking whats in it for me - then I do think it helps if there is a shared sense of purpose and that we are helping people with shared values and people we are drawn to

    Its great when you network and make a connection and its great when the climate is right for us. I heard Tina Seelig at Stanford talk once on networking suggesting we hunt to find the "million dollars in the room". That sounds fun - for sure its there. But hunting for the connection that has meaning is far more valuable.

    We certainly need to walk into the room to see 'how is it' but you are right that we don't need to stay if its not for us.

    Certainly there are more 'rooms' to explore than there are hours in the day

    (Happy to have found your Room today Ben)