As entrepreneurs we network a lot. We attend in person events, make friends on line, join pages and friend people who are interesting. A personal network is a group of caring, dedicated people who are committed to maintain a relationship with a person in order to support a given set of activities. What that definition does not say is “make friends with people simply for a benefit.”
Listen, I love groups whose mission is to bring people together for a mutual benefit. I want to spend a minute discussing why putting the relationship before the benefit is the best approach. People that have been around the block or two can spot someone who is only out for themselves a mile away. These 4 tips will have you not only building your personal network, but building lasting and meaningful working relationships.
Tip #1- Give way more than you expect to receive
I can’t express this first tip enough. Going into this you need to adopt a givers mentality. You have to be the first to ask how you can help others. Be the first to invite them to sit down and have a genuine one on one chat. Ask questions about them and their business and be happy and supportive of what they are doing. If you have suggestions, tips or people that they should meet, then connect them before they even ask. I am a firm believer that when you help others with no intended benefit, it will come back to you ten fold.
Tip #2 – Go outside of your comfort area
It is so comfortable to run in the same circles and be around the people that we already know. That is wonderful for sustaining relationships, but if we want to cultivate new ones we have to be willing to expand our network reach. I remember my daughter being invited to a party and they extended the invite to parents. I really didn’t know a lot of the people that were going to be there, but I went anyway and ended up having a good time. In addition, I made a few new friends and one of the women introduced me to a great business opportunity. Neither one of us knew when we were leaving our homes that evening that a connection would be made that would not only turn into a great personal relationship, but a business one as well.
Tip #3 – Figure out what makes you different
Listen, when it comes to personal networking, there may be a gazillion people out there that do what you do, so you have to make sure to tell people what sets you apart from the rest. Most of the time it is the personal connection that is different. We like to be around people that we trust, know where we are coming from and a sincere interest in our lives and in our business.
Tip #4 – Be genuine and kind
This last one is so important. It is no secret that entrepreneurs want to get their products or services in front of as many people as possible, but as I mentioned earlier we should make the connection first. We do business with people that we trust and know have our best interests at hand. I have made some very close friends through my personal network and even if that isn’t your goal, it will still be more natural to help someone that you have a good relationship with.
Let’s go out and expand our personal network and aim to see who we can help first, before receiving any sort of benefit. Have fun, be brave and expand outside of your current network. I know you can do it!
Follow along with me on the Facebook page!