Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to be successful in Networking

Many people make resolutions for the year ahead at this time. Often these resolutions are forgotten quickly as they are all about an outcome rather than the specific things that will produce the outcome.

For example you could resolve to get more referrals, but without some actions you will not achieve this. A better resolution would be to arrange follow up meetings with someone from the groups you belong to every week and to introduce each of those people to at least one opportunity. That will get you more referrals.

These words from Aristotle help me when thinking about how to be successful;

"Understand that You can achieve Success.
Define what Success represents, for You.
Organise you life around its Achievement."

If you are making any resolutions then make them about the specific actions you can take to organise yourself around your success. Your successful resolutions will create new habits. To quote Aristotle again:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit"

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Video for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

Baby Boomer business owners and Baby Boomers wanting to start businesses, we have a new video for you. It shares some of the key things you must consider to avoid the treacherous water with hidden dangers for new businesses. Topics include:
  • Are you looking to join the alternative retirement trend?
  • Are you starting a business to remain active?
  • Do you want to establish a new work/life balance?
  • What you need to build into the design of your business to make it work for you.
  • Why you must slow down to get it done faster.
  • Some things your life experiences will not prepare you to do.
  • Where do you look to find the right tools?
I hope you enjoy it.

Shallie Bey

Monday, December 15, 2008

A perfect referral

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting when Andy Lopata was one of the other attendees. To start the session each of the attendees was invited to share something significant from their business over the last month.

Andy shared that the previous week he had delivered a paid for keynote speech to 1200 people. The feedback had been enthusiastic and was likely to lead to more similar engagements. He went on to thank me for the referral that had lead to this opportunity.

It was not the result of a chance happening, but a great illustration of how you can generate excellent referrals when you work at your networking.

Andy and I have known each other for about four years and have built a business friendship. We know, like and trust each other and have a formal process for sharing referrals to ensure the relationship is also a profitable one. Early last year I invited Andy along to one of the Referral Institute's Pipeline training sessions and following on from that we meet regularly with the specific purpose of sharing referrals.

Andy has identified exactly the companies he is looking for introductions to. In one of our meetings I recognised someone in my network who was well placed to introduce Andy to one of the companies he had identified.

Andy made the introduction easy for me by explaining exactly why the company would benefit from being introduced to him. My contact already knew of Andy from a seminar that he had delivered at one of our NRG groups. Her confidence together with the trust I already had in Andy made it easy for her to refer him for the speaking opportunity he was seeking.

Andy subsequently followed up with my contact at length and in good time as expected. He also kept me in the loop so that my existing relationship was also strengthened.

The end result - a perfect referral!

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, You Must Do More Than Just Buy Yourself A Job

Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, are starting businesses at amazing levels. Though Global Entrepreneurship Week and similar efforts are focused upon getting young people to explore entrepreneurship, it is the Baby Boomer business owners who are answering the call at unprecedented levels. And if they don’t start right, they will experience failure at unprecedented levels. That is why you, as a Baby Boomer Entrepreneur, want to start smarter.

One of the key factors driving this trend is a change in the way people in this age group seem to view retirement. A recent USA Today/Gallop poll says that 63% of non-retired adults in the United States plan to work into retirement. These polls were taken during sound financial times and most people say they made the choice for non-financial reasons. Most say they get enjoyment from work. They just want to work for themselves rather than their current boss.

The vast majority of people who start businesses do so because they want to work for themselves rather than for someone else. This practice, often referred to as “Buying a Job”, is probably the underlying cause for most small business failure.

They jump into a business where they do the same type of work they were doing for someone else. So cooks open restaurants. Auto mechanics open repair shops. Pharmacists open pharmacies. And technically trained people become consultants. The problem is that knowing how to do the work in a business, knowing how to manage the work of that business, and knowing how to own that type of business are three different roles. If you are not working on all three roles, the odds of success are small.

People who do the work of the business, often open the doors thinking that people will beat a path to their door because they are the best at what they do. But the problem is that though you may be the best, people have to know you are out there before they can do business with you.

Excited that a few people stumble upon them, business owners often sell the service or product at attractive pricing, usually close to the amount you would have gotten paid when you were working for your old boss. But you now have overhead that your boss had to cover that was above a beyond what he paid you. You have telephones, electricity, and perhaps even some help that you never had to consider before. So how do you price what you are doing to make sure your can make money at this business?

And if you get lots of customers because word does get out that you do a good job, how do you avoid working longer hours than you worked before to serve your customers and make enough money to enjoy your “semi-retirement”. After all, that was the plan wasn’t it? You just wanted to do a little something to keep your mind alert while enjoying this new form of retirement, right?

With proper planning, these and other problems that tend to cause business failure can be overcome. And yes, they can be overcome much more easily than you expect. We hear about the high rates of business failures, but the failures are not 100% of businesses started. You want to know what the successful people are doing differently.

Three Tips For Getting Started At Something Bigger Than Buying Yourself A Job

First – There are many resources available online for free that will help you get the lay of the land. In response to the Baby Boomer Entrepreneurship trend, the US Small Business Administration has created a special web site to support Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs. Do a web search on Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs and you should find this site and other free resources.

Second – Get a good grasp of why businesses fail and what to do about it. Probably the best resource on this is the work of the author Michael E. Gerber. His book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, is probably the best reference around. It is an easy reading book that will get you pointed in the right direction. A search under Michael Gerber’s name or for the book will give you a number of free resources including information from the book and interviews of Michael about how to work smarter rather than harder.

Finally – If you want to get going faster and to improve your odds of success, get some personal coaching from someone to help you apply the principles specifically. This can help you get off to a good start in understanding the entrepreneurial mindset, the ways you have to think differently to be successful as a business owner.

If you follow these principles you can experience the success that is being sought by Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs. You can have a profitable business that continues to fund your lifestyle. You can have a lifestyle with proper work/life balance instead of a life consumed by your business. You can join the successful Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs.

For more free resources on Baby Boomer Entrepreneurship, go to:

Shallie Bey

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Following up is very hard to do

There was some excellent advice on follow up in Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Caffeine Ezine this week. I have written extensively about the importance of follow up in this blog previously. It is in the following up and 1-2-1 meetings that you really build the mutually beneficial business relationships that drive your networking success. Many people find follow up very difficult. As Jeffrey put it;

"Is there a secret to follow-up? No.
Is there a best way to follow-up? No.
Why do people quit too soon? Big question.
Why do you quit too soon? Bigger question.
Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? Biggest question.

Reason? Think and Grow Rich (written by Napoleon Hill 70 years ago) has an entire chapter on persistence that provides real insight as to the characteristics of what makes some stick at it until they win, while others stop either just after they start, or stop just before they are about to taste victory.

You can see most of Think and Grow Rich online at Google Books. Chapter 9 is the one on persistence.

If you struggle with following up then some of what Napolean Hill had to say on How to Develop Persistence may help.

"There are four simple steps which lead to the habit of persistence, They call for no great amount of intelligence, no particular amount of education, and but little time or effort. The necessary steps are:

1. A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.
2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.
4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Am I doing something wrong?

I spoke to someone yesterday that I met at a recent networking event. I asked him what he felt about the event. He said he had enjoyed it, but said,

"I haven't got any business from it though. I have been to a couple of other groups too and it was the same. I must be doing something wrong!"

I asked how many times he had been to each group.

The reply, "Once".

I asked if he really expected to get business from one meeting.

As I said in my recent post, sell through the room not to the room:

If you are looking for business today from the people you meet, that is selling. Successful networking builds your business for tomorrow through the relationships you build with the people you meet.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

Friday, December 5, 2008

Do you know what you want from your networking?

Do you have a clear idea of your business networking objectives?

I saw the following from 'Alice in Wonderland' in the excellent ezine from Marieke Hensel of Branding Personality this week.

Alice:“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to
Alice: “I don't much care where.”
The Cat: “Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.”
Alice: “…so long as I get somewhere.”
The Cat: “Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

Marieke was sharing how to avoid the top 6 mistakes you can make on Linkedin. Mistake number 1 is not setting goals. The same is true for Business Networking in general. You must be clear about your objectives to start with.

If, for example, you are networking to generate new business then invest some time to work out your strategy & set yourself some targets. Calculate how many referrals you will need to achieve your target and that will give you a rough number for the referrals you need to give.

Work out where you can regularly meet the business people you can form relationships with and give referrals to. They are the ones most likely to be able to refer you too. You can then plan for the groups you need to join and commit to the activity you need to undertake.

Over time this investment will pay dividends over and over again.

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

business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast