Networking is among the most popular of small business tools. Done right, it is a powerful tool for accomplishing goals.
Done wrong, it can cost a CEO $100,000 per year…at least.
Broad & deep networks
Building the right network takes pro-active and strategic thinking. It also requires the right foundational mindset. In our CEO’s latest column at Home Business Magazine, Business Networking International (BNI) founder Ivan Misner said that networking isn’t about cold calls or quick kills. It’s “more about farming than…hunting” — cultivation, not “a face-to-face cold-calling opportunity.”
According to Misner, “if your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you’ll never achieve the success you want. You should find a network that is wide and, in some places, deep.”
Know your network process
Misner was one of six experts cited in the column. Each had a different way of building an effective network. But it all came down to knowing with whom they wanted to connect, and why.
This mission-focused process allows Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Todd Rowley to “remove boulders from the stream of connectivity” to reduce “the amount of turbulence before, during, and after transactions.” He has a process which allows him to connect the right people at the right time.
Every company’s networking strategy is going to be different. Jon Rutenberg is President of Computer Consultants Corporation — he automates many networking “touches” so that his CEO clients can focus their time on high-quality members of their network. Club Corp’s Chuck Feddersen says his company creates handshake and relationship opportunities for like-minded people.
Tailored to you
Whatever your strategy is, it must be tailored to your company’s goals. It must be mission-focused, process-driven, and results-oriented. You must continually assess its effectiveness.
Otherwise, you’re rubbing all of the wrong elbows. That’s a great way to cost your company tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.