Monday, September 29, 2008

Global Entrepreneurship Week Is Almost Here

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Is Global Entrepreneurship Week making you curious about how good an entrepreneur you can be? Well, the time to test yourself is coming closer and closer.

In November of 2008, during the week before Thanksgiving, the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week will occur. It will encourage young people from around the world to explore entrepreneurship as a way of resolving many of the great challenges of the world.

In an effort to support Global Entrepreneurship Week I have scoured the Internet to collect some of the best advice on entrepreneurship that I could find. It is all organized on a Squidoo Directory to get you started.

This directory, called a lens by Squidoo, will 1) monitor the events leading up to Global Entrepreneurship Week, 2) Share insights on entrepreneurship, and 3) follow the progress once the event occurs.

Shallie Bey

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, September 26, 2008

Can you do all your networking online?

With the explosion of Social Networking Websites you could be forgiven for thinking that you didn't need to go out any more.

The truth is that whilst these sites are essential parts of the overall mix they are no substitute for actually meeting people and building solid business relationships based on trust.

In a previous entry I mentioned Keller Fay research concluding that 72% of all Word of Mouth interaction takes place face to face. The report includes "... in their rush to jump on the online bandwagon, marketers have ignored one crucial fact: The real power of Word Of Mouth is offline, where most conversations still occur."

This mirrored our own findings into how networking works. Networking results follow from building trusted relationships first. Most of this trust building takes place to start with in regular attendance at face to face Group meetings and subsequently in follow up and 121 meetings.

Once you meet 121 there will, very likely, be a number of steps to take before you can advocate each other, but put the effort in and the rewards are there.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Waterproofs for the Economic Storm

We had a great seminar last week with this title from 2 NRG members, Sally Rainbow-Ockwell of Action Coach and Nigel Morgan of Morgan PR.

They spoke about the importance of existing clients and demonstrated some really practical steps that you can take to convert them into Raving Fans. In fact how you could halve your marketing spend and double your turnover!

Your Network is also something that can help shelter you from the downturn. Many people do not make the most of the people they already know or have met. At this time you may want to consolidate and spend less time looking for new connections. Do you really know all the people in your existing Groups and network in general?

Now is the time to make sure you really, really get to know those other members. Do the follow up with those people you have been meaning to. Arrange those 121s that are vital in building your business relationships.

Be more proactive as the storm clouds gather.

The amount of overall business is still growing!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getting in front of the right person

Most owners of small businesses will tell you they don't have a problem with selling once they get in front of the right person, but they hate cold calling.

They will also tell you that most of their business comes via Word of Mouth.

So why not just wait for referrals from satisfied existing clients?

The problem is that they don't have a big enough client base to survive on this alone. So they need to generate this Word of Mouth from other sources. That's where Business Networking comes in. By creating strong business relationships with other Business Owners you can generate that vital Word of Mouth to get in front of more of the right people.

The more help you can provide to your network in defining the right people the better. Defining your right people will also help you find the right Networking Groups for you. Those where at least some of the members are connected to them!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A mixture of Networking and Pro Bono

I was talking with a lawyer friend in London last week from a small firm with 2 partners. Although small their client list is very impressive. People with the money to pay well when faced with the type of legal problem my friend is a specialist in. I asked how he had built his practice and he said "a mixture of Networking and Pro Bono work".

He went on to say that he does a lot of networking with other trusted advisers to his potential and existing clients. He also said there are other people very well connected with his clients that do a lot of unpaid voluntary and charitable work. He does as much Pro Bono work as he can for these people and their organisations. His clients, their advisers and these 'volunteers' keep him very busy in well paying, profitable work for others they recommend him to.

Do your potential clients have advisers and other contacts that you should be networking and sharing your expertise with?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How do you get business when nobody is buying?

I met someone recently who said "The trouble with networking groups is everyone is selling, but nobody is buying". We discussed this a little further and he had been attending 'networking' meetings that were billed as 'the opportunity to find your next client'. Promotion for the meetings described typical attendees as 'decision makers'. In that context he was right as the wrong expectation had been set for people like him. Everyone was trying to sell to each other!

A couple of other people had joined the conversation by this stage. One said "I get all of my business from networking, but I don't sell. Nobody likes being sold to so I build trusted relationships with people that can refer me to their contacts".

She was right and had highlighted the big difference between selling and networking.

Selling is when you are engaged in direct activity with your target market.

Networking is when you are building relationships with others who can introduce & refer you into your target market.

So if you are looking for business directly from the people you meet that is selling. Successful networking builds regular business for the future.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board

Monday, September 15, 2008

Entrepreneurship In A Word: Part 3 – Advisers

No matter how experienced you are as an entrepreneur, you depend upon growing by having good advisers. The challenge is making sure that your advisers are supporting your goals and dreams and not just selling you their own.

Joan Magretta, strategy editor of the Harvard Business Review during the 1990s and author of the delightful book, What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business, has an interesting insight. She calls it “advice without context”.

She observed that the number of books and major articles on management has grown to over two thousand per year. Most of these focus upon a single idea in isolation and often out of context. But the practical reader wants ideas they can quickly use, so most literature is full of lessons learned and concrete to-do lists – the ten things you can do today to be effective or savvy.

The problem is that 10 things from each of 2000 sources suddenly turns into an overwhelming twenty thousand suggestions to you each year. This doesn’t even include the advice from friends, relatives, business consultants, customers, other successful entrepreneurs, and in today’s age the Internet. This is the problem of advice without context. Every piece of advice must be placed in the context of your personal goals and your business plan. This is the reason that you design your business plan to be your tool for designing your business. You must know not only what to do but why the advice supports your goals. So, as an entrepreneur, make sure you understand the motives of your advisers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When the going gets tough

There is an old saying "When the going gets tough the tough get going". I think it would probably be more accurate to say "When the going gets tough the tough keep going". If you are already proactive then you will be ready.

I was talking with a couple of NRG-networks members after a networking lunch earlier this week. You will no doubt have heard the words 'credit crunch' bandied around and we were talking about the domestic property market. This week the UK Government scrapped Stamp Duty on some properties to try and stimulate movement amongst first time buyers in particular. One of the members mentioned two similar sized and neighbouring estate agency firms. In the previous month one had sold four properties and the other over 30! Both operate from similar High Street properties. Both have a similar web presence. Both have similar local advertising. What are they doing differently? He had seen activity reports from both.

The one who sold four was pretty much waiting for business to walk in as it obviously did during the boom years. They are sending out property details, but they are not following up. They are busy filing, keeping the desks tidy, having another coffee, making sure the computers and phones are clean. All important, but not likely to produce business without other productive activity.

The other is doing all these and also proactively building relationships with more potential buyers. They are actively networking in local groups. They are keeping in regular contact with their existing network, people on their database, old clients etc. As they receive new instructions they are also sending out details. They are also contacting prospective buyers by phone, email, letter, newsletters, etc. They are actively arranging meetings and trying new activities. They are keeping up and even increasing their productive activity. They have captured nearly all of the local market.

Are you concentrating on keeping busy or on your productive activity especially the following up?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

business networking | business networking events | virtual board