Let’s talk about The Power of Networking In Your Business…
I don’t think we talk enough about this in our business community. But if you asked every business owner you know, they would tell you that their network is their “net worth”. In fact, there’s an entire book about it. Porter Gale, author of “Your Network Is Your Net Worth”, says: “I believe that your social capital, or your ability to build a network of authentic personal and professional relationships, not your financial capital, is the most important asset in your portfolio.”
Can we all say AMEN!!!!!
Network, network, network. So many of my professional connections are from other aspects of my life that are all intertwined. Friends become clients and clients become friends. It’s a truly beautiful dance and I’m here for it!!!
Melissa and I hear it all the time…”I’m not seeing sales, the economy is bad and has tanked my business, I can’t find clients.” And while we do agree that the social media noise is deafening and growing there is harder than it used to be…business growth itself is still happening. And yes, we are seeing economic factors come into play in all areas of business, but it’s time to look at where you are positioned in the market. What is your unique problem that you solve for people….how do you uniquely serve…how do you uniquely make people feel? In looking at all of those factors, I am having my BEST year yet in the 15 years I’ve been in business. Friend, it is possible.
The key may be that you need to be people focused and get out of your house and off your phone…
There, I said it. We’ve all gotten very comfortable behind a screen…and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working from home, but I’m also a realist and as I made a pivot into full time brand photography and business coaching, that meant my local demographic changed and I needed to go out and meet new people. I needed to plug in to new places and shake some new hands.
In our small coastal town, I have amazing clients that value who I am and what I do and pay me accordingly. You know why, because I place so much value on the “people” aspect of what we do. People matter first to me. Accolades, awards, publications, clapping hands…none of that matters to me. I care about the relationships I build along the way and the clients that I get to serve who trust me to show up and do a dang good job…and make them laugh and feel good about their time with me.
Our sweet little town has four stop lights…just FOUR! If you blink, you’ll miss us. But we have an amazing community and wonderful surrounding communities. I’ve had people come into our town to work with me and I’ve flown as far as California, DC, NYC, and Texas to work with clients. The sky is truly the limit when you build a strong network at home and online!!
If you are wanting to see business growth in today’s market, begin building relationships with people in your community, your surrounding cities, and our business community online. So many of my current photography and coaching clients have come from referrals…or they saw my work on someone else’s feed or publication. I’ve joined local Women in Business groups and been a part of group coaching online and even small, intimate, exclusive Masterminds. I’ve taught workshops and been a panel guest. There have been retreats, conferences, local book clubs, wine and design nights with girlfriends who bring new friends….the possibilities for you too to plug in are endless and you don’t have to do them all, but find something that gets you in a room with other people who could be your ideal client that needs what you have to offer.
In fact, we have an entire podcast episode about this called “Shake a Damn Hand” …I’ll link it here!
Three places to plug in and network:
1: Your local area. What business groups, co-working spaces, economic development organizations can you find in your town or a town over that you can plug into to meet new people? Find ways that you can give back and you’ll be amazed at the relationships that will be built. Look for ways that you can serve or offer up what you know or can help with and that will guide you to your best networking moments because you are there with your whole heart to help other people. It’s a mission, a passion, and time to let you hair down a little and just “people”.
2: Another great place to network is in Masterminds, group coaching, and conferences. I’ve met sooooo many of my current business friends and colleagues and clients in this arenas. In fact, Melissa and I (my business partner that co-founded The Business Reboot with me) became friends through a MLM…we are not going to talk about that hahahaha…but it was at a Christian Business conference and then a group work environment. And who knew 7 years later, we’d be married into a LLC?!?!? Hahahahha But seriously, even if the people in the groups aren’t your ideal client, they may have people into their personal networks that are. See how that works? You join these groups for the knowledge and growth opportunities, but one of the biggest additional perks is that you grow your circle of influence and meet all sorts of amazing business owners who are also well connected in their own communities. It’s like having a really long table and you just keep pulling up more chairs!!! It’s really cool!!
3: If you can’t find what you are looking for, create it for others. It might look like what starts out as a small five person book club that grows over time into a room full of amazing women in your community. And y’all all know that a room full of women can CHANGE the world!!!! I mean, we can get shiz DONE!!! So if you are feeling like you can’t find your people…start inviting instead of waiting to be invited. Start the thing..be the person you needed five years ago. There’s someone out there that needs it too!
I was a stay at home mom to a second grader and twin four year olds and was looking for other mom friends. I helped lead a MOPS group at our local church as the co-director because it was a much needed resource in our Beaufort community and it was a great way for me to make friends. The relationships that came out of that for our girls as well as for me were so impactful and I’m still in touch with many of those ladies almost two decades later. In fact, several of them were my very first photography clients before we moved to Hawaii.
I hope to encourage you to find your people…plug in…give back…and network with good humans. It’s an opportunity to grow your friend group and maybe even your business…but also your heart. I’ve met so many amazing humans do amazing things in this world by getting out of my own bubble and serving alongside of these fabulous people. Be a magnet…attract good people and you’ll always win at life!!!