Someone wrote “your network is your net worth,” and yet, are you really investing your time in this tool? Time spent in entering personal contacts, updating contact information and maintaining relationships is time well spent.
According to Susan RoAne, the author of the book How to Work a Room, “As an entrepreneur, if you don’t have a network, you will keep reinventing the wheel.” In the Internet age, networking has taken on a whole new meaning. Keeping up with the competition means staying in front of your peers, on top of the latest news and keeping in touch. Keeping in touch means not only sending an occasional email but spending time on the phone and face-to-face.
Many social media/networking sites are free–and more are on the way. All help you stay connected to people you know and spark relationships with those you don’t–including customers, suppliers, partners and advisers. There are also software applications that help to update and maintain your networks. If you aren’t using these services already, sign up! Here are some of the social media/networking sites that I use:
• Linked In
Here’s a specific plan to really make the most of your network: Choose one day of the week (not a Monday) for the next four weeks in which you will randomly select three individuals from whatever database you use. Devote 15 minutes on the telephone chatting and catching up. Agree to do something with at least one of the three you call; plan a lunch or breakfast; or even a time to just meet in person for coffee. A month of “maintaining” your network will only take approximately four hours or so of your time, and has the potential of yielding results.