If I asked you to make a list of 10 people who most influence your business, how easy would it be for you to do? Who would you include on your list and more importantly how are they impacting your business? The people in our network, are the people we consult when faced with important decisions. Therefore, surrounding yourself with the right people can be crucial to ensuring your success. It is certainly not easy to develop and maintain a strong network. Too often, those we connect with tend to drift away due to a job change, relocation, or simply time. As you give this some thought, here are a few tips to help you fine-tune and maintain your important business network.
- Engage Your Network. Are you engaging the people in your network? Let’s face it, we are all busy and maintaining a network is tough. It takes time and energy and we are usual deficient on both. I am often amazed at how poor some people are at responding to texts, emails and voice mails. Some people are hard to engage. If your communication skills are lacking, most likely your network is too. Do yourself a favor and make it a priority to engage someone in your network each week. Make the call, engage in communication, and stay connected.
- Reciprocity. How many people would include you on their Top 10 list? In addition to engaging your network, offer to help someone within your network. Your network is like a crop, you reap what you sow. Do they understand your goals, passions and struggles and equally as important, do you understand theirs?
- Leverage Your Network. In sales the best prospect is usually from a customer referral. The same with your network. As you strive to do a better job engaging your existing network, ask them who they consult with on a regular basis. If you have a specific area where you are struggling, your network’s network is a great place to start. You don’t need to have all the answers, just surround yourself with those who do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Be a Mentor. The older I get the more I believe we all need to do a better job paying it forward. How many young people are currently in your network? I believe this is an area where everyone benefits. Engaging the younger generation not only helps positively impact that individual’s life, it can also be a real asset to you as well. Questions that are often asked by the younger generation can challenge your business and the status quo. Rethinking your “why” might be exactly what your business needs.
- Shuffle the Deck. If your network is not as strong as you would like it to be, it might be time to make some changes. The best way to improve your network might be easier than you think: Engage those who engage you, leverage those who leverage you and seek opportunities to be a mentor. It’s been said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Don’t let your average, be just average. Take the time and make the investment today!