The opportunities for networking are abundant. As a matter of fact, there are so many available that it can be overwhelming. For instance, the popular website www.meetup.com lists networking groups available in your geographic area. The total for my area is 5802 – overwhelming! And these are just the informal networks of like-minded people. The list grows by adding the more traditional networks of professional associations, community organizations, and charities, to name just a few.
With such a proliferation of groups attracting our attention and calling out for members, it is important to be strategic. After all, time is precious. We can’t get it back and therefor we must invest wisely. And there is no doubt that networking requires a considerable investment of time. So, before making that initial investment of your time, identify your goals for networking and evaluate the competing networking opportunities against these goals. Then further narrow the choices by reviewing the membership profile of the group and compare this to your target (or desired) market.
For the business professional evaluating networking opportunities, goals typically fall into the following broad categories:
- Promote your business
- Make new connections and build relationships
- Say on the cutting edge – learn the latest tips, tools, news and events which impact your business
- Develop new ideas, solve problems, access a sounding board of experts
If your primary goal is to enhance your professional development or the development of your business, there is an alternative to consider. A business coach will help you develop a targeted program to fit the needs of your business or career. Is your time better spent attending a networking event to hear the expert on the topic or would it be better to invest the time in exploring the subject in depth with an unbiased coach who wants nothing more than for you to succeed?
Networking is the optimum way to develop connections and invest your valuable time in building relationships. These are relationships where you help your connections and vice versa. Referrals come from trusted relationships.
Hire a business coach if your strategic networking goal includes the following:
- Gain confidence
- Increase motivation
- Solve problems
- Access support and advice
- Access a sounding board for plans and ideas
- Develop new ideas
Contact me today to make a wise investment in the growth and development of your business.