When new entrepreneurs hear the word “networking,” it often conjures up the following game plan:
Of course, as is the case with most of what we think we know about business strategy, this is backwards. Instead, the sequence should look something like this:
In his book,The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg covers an approach to networking that is based on what I have written above: Find a way to help others. Period.
As a new entrepreneur, who do you wish to network with? Most commonly it is someone who is affluent or notably more successful than you are in a given domain. So how do you establish that connection?
The key to really connecting with these people is to figure out what you can bring to the table. Networking is a two-way exchange. You already know the type of help you want, but what kind of help can you offer?
As an example, I have a great number of friends who are specialized physicians. On dozens of separate occasions, I have connected some of my contacts to one of these physicians for personal or family-related health issues that were mentioned only briefly during an initial conversation.
Recently, I gave advice about outsourcing to a very successful business executive, helped the Dean of a reputable business school navigate the process of self-publishing and introduced a surgeon to the world of do-it-yourself web design using WordPress.
The list above could go on and on but the point is the following: Find ways to help people using your own skills, contacts, efforts and ideas and they will want to reciprocate. Period.
Shawn Maloney, Journal Prep, www.journalprep.com, Montreal, QC, CYBF Mentor