Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with?
You are the product of all of them!
So think – is that good news or bad news for how successful you are going to be? Only you really know the answer to that!
The good news is that you are in control of your network. The people you make connections with and surround yourself with are the key to getting where you want to be.
As the saying goes, “Your network is your net worth”. I’m going to show you how you can take control of that, and use it to your advantage when it comes to business. My network has been one of my most valuable assets when it came to building success for myself, and it’s not rocket science but if you follow a few simple principles, you’ll start to see things change for yourself too.
Who is in your network?
Even if you’ve never consciously ‘done’ networking, I’ll bet you are surrounded by people that could benefit your business and your life. Whether it’s colleagues, friends or family, all these people will be having an impact on you, and subconsciously impacting on what you think will be possible for yourself. These people are your POWER BASE.
So ask yourself:
Does my current network inspire me?
Who in my network is helping me realise my goals?
If the answers are ‘No’, and ‘No-one’, you’ve GOT to take action! It’s not going to change unless you change it, and that starts by working out HOW to build the contacts you want to see for yourself.
So what’s the secret to building a supercharged network?
Here’s three things you can try this week to boost your network. Don’t make excuses for yourself – try them, and see where it takes you. You’ve got nothing to lose!
…think about places you already go. Are you using those opportunities to the best of your advantage? For example, if you go to after work drinks every Friday but only ever talk to the same three colleagues, you are wasting your time!
Seek out people you don’t yet know who seem like they’re doing well. Ask them about themselves. Find out what their goals and priorities are. What could you learn from your boss’s boss next time you see them?!
… work out where you need to be to be likely to meet people who can be valuable contacts. You want to meet successful people? They’re probably not hanging out in your local McDonalds all day. Being in the right place is as much about attending events that are a good fit for your business and audience as it is about how you spend your free time.
You want to aim high! For the sake of an extra £30, travel first class on the train, who knows who you’ll end up sitting next to? Stay in the good hotel, not the basic budget option, sit at the bar and be open to talking to people. Go to that conference. Try new places, and be open to whoever you might meet there. You may say you can’t afford to – I am telling you that you can’t afford not to! If you learn to network properly I guarantee you that the deals you can do with the people you meet will pay for the extra costs you have incurred 10 times over!
Play at the level you want to be at, not the level you are at, and you will see a step change in the value those contacts can bring for you.
…always be networking! The mistake a lot of people make is to only talk to new people if they are at a specific ‘networking’ event. But the connections you can make happen All.The.Time. It’s about having the right attitude, and always looking for ways you can make connections with people.
So it might be on the way to work, or at the gym. Chatting to someone while you’re waiting for your Starbucks could turn out to be just as useful as asking a new prospect out for a coffee.
Be curious, and take an interest in people. Not just what they could do for you, but what you could offer them.
It’s people that make the world go round, and there’s no reason why you can’t create a circle for yourself of people who are going to help it get going the way you want!
So once you have the basics in place, it’s time to think bigger to get the best out of your network. If you follow my tips, you will quickly see your network grow – now you’ve got to follow it through to get the best out of it.
Who are you talking to?
I’ve talked before about how important it is to play in the right arena. There’s no point wasting time pissing about – for success, you’ve got to THINK BIG! When it comes to networking, that means meeting people at the right level, and hanging out where they want to be.
Where are you playing?
I’m putting on a private event soon for a very select group of people. It’s a mix of people I already know a little, and people I don’t know but want to do business with. They are all busy and successful people, so I know there’s no value to them in me inviting them to a pie and pint down my local. I’m going BIG with the venue and spending a 4 figure sum per person, but the result is that actually, everybody wants to come. That’s half the battle! The more successful and beneficial people can be for you, the harder they will be to pin down.
It’s an investment in the future, because if the result of the spend with any one of the attendees is that we make a deal, then the event pays for itself ten times over.
I know not everyone is in the position to chuck cash at every situation, and I’m not saying that’s always the right answer, but the principle is the same. If you up your game, you’ll see results at every level.
To get the best out of people in your network, you have to make sure what you have is actually offering them something of value. There’s no point wasting people’s time – you have to make sure you have a proposition that’s going to be relevant!
Think – What is this person looking for? How is what I’ve got going to interest them?
Make it about what YOU can do for THEM, not the other way round. By being useful to others, you’ll find they become useful for you in the long run.
Don’t blur the lines
The temptation is, once you start building a solid network that you naturally gravitate towards some people more than others. That’s fine, but you need to be clear where the line is between friendships, and business.
I’ve made some great friends through business over the years, but I’ve been careful not to take the piss or blur the lines with what is genuine. It’s not about pretending to be a fan, or kissing arse to get what you want out of people – anyone worth their salt will see through that anyway.
To get ahead in business the best way is to be honest and upfront – about who you are, and what you’re about. So don’t pretend to be someone’s mate if you’re not. If the person you’re talking to is genuine, they will be interested in whatever you are ‘selling’ them and appreciate your connection for that in its own right. Basically, The Funding Guru golden rule is simply this:
This applies to all sorts of things in business, including how to actually pitch to the people in your network when you need their help. There’s tons more tips over on my fundingguru.com website, so head over and have a look!
If there’s a subject you want me to cover, or need my advice on then I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch, and maybe my next email will be first hand advice for your own business situation!