Network, Network, Network

It wasn’t just about the people who came to our booth and were interested in hiring us. That was really only a small part of the value we received from purchasing a booth at a state-wide business event. I went in with expectations of more than just one advantage, which allowed me to gain a great deal from the event that went far beyond those few potential contracts.

Networking is all about getting to know people, building relationships, and reciprocity. If you have something of value, people will recommend it, but only if they trust you to deliver. Trade events are a good place to meet people who may be interested in what you have. But they can also benefit you in other ways, depending on what your goals are.

You can meet up with people who might be considered your competitors. If you shun them, and treat them like the enemy, you’ve just cut off a potential advantage. If you get to know them, and learn the differences between what you do, and what they do, you may find that cooperation is possible, in a way that benefits you both. For example, two other web design companies at the first event were happy to take our card, with the intent of passing on referrals. They wanted big contracts. We wanted the small ones. We can help one another.

Those two benefits – potential clients, and potential cooperations, are two benefits that nearly every business can gain from networking, and from event participation. There is a third, which will benefit a business if they have goals that go beyond their own business. If you want to change the world, one more benefit is possible.

You can meet people who have the power to help you gain credibility to achieve great things. I’m not a power pusher. I don’t get into the games involving scratching and clawing my way to the top. But I do understand now how knowing the right people can help your business in ways you never dreamed.

I’m trying to define a new niche industry. To do that, I have a two-pronged approach to my business. It includes both DOING the job, in a service business, and TEACHING the job, in an educational environment. To teach it, I need more credibility than I do to just DO it. People with power can help me do that, and can help to grant me the credibility I need. They can refer me, put me in a position of being “the” expert to call on the topics I want to educate people about.

The events we attended did that, to a certain extent. We came to the notice of people who have an agenda of eliminating certain problems. The things we teach help to address some of those issues. In talking to them, once they finally understood the real difference in how we are approaching the industry, we were able to make an impression, and be remembered as the only people doing this one thing. Long term, that will benefit us. It already is on a local and regional basis.

No one else is going to build your business for you. They really don’t care whether you succeed or not, unless you are doing something that will benefit them also. People in power won’t want to help you unless it makes them look good too. You have to have your ducks in a row, you can’t just ride someone else’s coattails to the top. But if you DO have it together, and if you ARE willing to work hard at building a smart business, networking can help you succeed in ways you cannot predict.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.