It’s a new year which means a fresh start, resolutions for the year ahead and goals to reach for! After the chaos of 2020 I think we’re all probably ready for a new beginning – but how do you plan on getting the most out of it?
We all know the 7 P’s: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. January is definitely a time to plan for the year ahead, set targets and put plans into place in order to achieve them.
When it comes to planning ahead for your business, you’ll no doubt be looking at your sales targets, social media campaigns and overall marketing strategies; but what about networking?
We all know how powerful having a strong network can be, the opportunities that come from relationships and the value of networking to generate new leads, access support, and share knowledge and information. But we often don’t set out a plan for our networking activities, which as the 7 P’s show can only result in a piss poor performance!
I’m on a mission to get people to think strategically about their networking activities, just in the same way they would any other business function! I’ve pulled together all my experience and knowledge from the past 14 years of networking, and bundled it all together in one interactive, fun and engaging online course: ‘How To Network Strategically: create a networking strategy!’. It’s without a doubt the thing I’m most proud of to date (professionally at least), and I know in my heart it can have a huge impact in helping people really harness the power of networking.
Here’s a quick overview of some of what’s included in the course (there’s LOTS more), and my top tips on where to start when it comes to networking strategically in 2021 (and forever!)…
1. Set Objectives
Just as with any other business development or growth plans, you need to set clear objectives at the beginning in order to achieve what you want from your activities. Just going to a networking event for the buffet is a thing of the past: you need to know exactly what you want to achieve from networking in order to obtain it.
2. Know Your Target Market
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to profile the people you need to meet in order to reach those goals. Who are the people you need to be engaging with and building relationships with to help you achieve those objectives? Once you know who you need to meet, it’s a lot easier to understand where you need to position yourself.
3. Nurture Relationships
Networking’s not just about attending events to meet new people, it’s about nurturing the relationships you already have. It’s important to put the time in to building on new connections, maintaining current relationships, and even potentially nurturing ones from your past.
4. Navigate The Ecosystem
Knowing who you need to be meeting in order to achieve your networking objectives, as well as nurturing past/current/new relationships leads into being able to effectively navigate the networking ecosystem. Knowing which events are going to be the most appropriate events for you to attend will enable you to improve your return on investment from networking activities as well allowing you to reach your goals and grow your business a heck of a lot quicker!
5. Measure ROI
Once you have your networking strategy in place you want to be able to measure your return on investment to ensure its working for you, and your business. Monitoring outgoing and incoming from your networking activities is a great way to ensure you’re staying on track, as well as setting obtainable targets to keep you focussed on the bigger picture.
There you have it! A quick whistle-stop tour of how to start being strategic with your networking activities – to lean more make sure you download our FREE whitepaper on The Art of Strategic Networking! (sign up to our networking newsletter via the homepage and it’ll land in your inbox)