One of the things I love about my own business is being able to partner with other like-minded entrepreneurial leaders. In that spirit, I invited Alana Muller, President of Kauffman Fast Trac, a global provider of training to entrepreneurs, and author of the new book, “Coffee Lunch Coffee”, to post this month.
I believe that as we Step Up to our powerful leadership potential, networking plays a vital role in our success and fulfillment. Enjoy Alana’s suggestions and commit to engagement with networking for 2013.
Make 2013 Your Year to Network!
By Alana Muller, Entrepreneur and Author, “Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking”
This year, while you are thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, add this one to your list: Make 2013 YOUR year for strengthening your relationship base.
Though New Year’s Resolutions may often feel trivial or artificially timed to coincide with January 1st, there’s no better time to start than right now. That means, put yourself in a networking mindset, think about with whom you’d like to connect, then get out there and do it!
This is important stuff. Nothing gets done without strong relationships. Not sales. Not new opportunities. Not positive perceptions of you in the community. Nothing. And, too frequently, we get energized by the dawn of a new year, set a bunch of resolutions and fail to follow through. Don’t let that happen this year. Instead, hold yourself accountable for building your professional network. And, even if you think of yourself as already well connected, well networked, well known, redouble your efforts – work to strengthen your contact base, be sure your connections know how important they are to you.
And, remember, relationship building is all about adding value for others… in so doing, they will add value for you, too.
Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Put Yourself in the Right Frame of Mind.
Positive. Optimistic. Confident. Decide that you are a great networker and have fun engaging in the effort! While the notion of networking can be daunting, by jumping in, you are more likely to overcome your fear and greatly benefit from the experience. Your winning disposition will help you build an enduring, value-added, mutually beneficial professional network.
Identify both people you already know with whom you would like to reconnect as well as those who you don’t yet know, but would like to. Reach out, schedule a few meetings. Know your own story – be prepared to describe who you are, what you do, what you believe in, how you operate. Do a little research on your contacts and their work to help guide the discussion and maximize the time you spend with your contacts to make your meetings more productive for everyone. Be ready to offer insight, advice, tips and information depending on your contact’s needs.
Set a Goal
How many new people will you seek to develop relationships with each day, each week, each month, each year? It starts with just one. It builds from there. Send an email, make a phone call. Go on, reach out now.
What are you waiting for? Make 2013 your year to network!
About the Author
Alana Muller is President of Kauffman FastTrac, a global provider of training to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, giving them the tools, resources and networks to start and grow successful businesses. Kauffman FastTrac was created by the Kauffman Foundation. She is also the author of a book, Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking and a companion blog, CoffeeLunchCoffee.com. She is a frequent lecturer and workshop facilitator on topics such as networking, entrepreneurship and women in business. She has been a contributor to Forbes.com, The Huffington Post, CNBC and other publications. Alana has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago, where she was the recipient of the Mike and Karen Herman Fellowship for Women in Entrepreneurship, and an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Smith College. She was recognized as a 2012 Influential Woman by KC Business magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMuller.