Well, the short answer is no, you don’t have to network, but you also don’t have to own a business either. Since you made the choice to own a business or work for a business owner, then my guess is you could use some job security. This happens really only 1 way, adding value to the company.
As the business owner, job security happens through growing the number of clients you have. As the number of clients multiplies so does the revenue for the business. As an employee, job security is related to the number of projects the business has in a given month and the amount of money per month those projects generate.
Coming from the employee world I can admit this is the furthest thing from your mind in your day to day. But consider for a moment that if that firm did not have the clients to support its staff then it would not have a need for the staff.
So as employees if you want to stand out, bring in business to the business through referral. That goes a long way in getting recognition.
Business Tips On How To Generate New Business
There are 2 ways to generate new business. The first is called passive lead generation. We are not going to spend much time on this one today but this is generally done through advertising and website marketing platforms. Generally, other people are handling this section of your firm for you, but as a small business owner, you are probably really involved with this until you get the team in place to handle it for you.
The second is called active lead generation. This is where networking comes into place.
Networking is more than social media… shocking I know. But social media is a great way to build a network and actively participate in communications across the globe which opens your market to a global level as opposed to a local level.
With digital networking, we need to remember that social media is social. What do I mean by this? Well, social media isn’t a platform for speeches and relentless “I Love Me” posts bragging about yourself/business/or family. Social media is a great place to ask questions of other industries, to share successes, to discuss failures, and to answer questions from your network.
With this in mind, social media can only get you so far.
What if Real People Scare Me?
First of all, that is ok… they scare me sometimes too!
Let me tell you a story of a woman I met some years ago. She was very shy and soft spoken, a super sweet lady with tremendous talent. She wasn’t a social butterfly and didn’t like being large groups or public speaking (side note: who likes public speaking?!). Crazy right? Public speaking scared the crap out of her, as it does 90% of Americans, so she isn’t alone here.
A business coach told her she needed to network to grow her design business. He invited her to a few events, starting with after hours events where you can network at your pace and meet people 1 on 1 in the public forum. Then the business coach invited her to an organized networking group with the mission to refer and receive business. I had the pleasure of meeting her here at this event.
The transformation began that day with that decision to commit $600 for the year to the group. In her time in this group, she began to flourish. She had a mentor that taught here some tricks for speaking up in front of a room full of people she didn’t know.
One Business Tip: Make 1 New Friend Every Time
Suddenly you know the whole room and now it is not a room of strangers; it is a room of friends familiar faces. Much easier now. Now when you speak, find 1 friend that is sitting on the opposite side of the room and talk to that friend from across the room. The only way to be heard is to speak loudly and your friend will hear you. From there her confidence grew and with that her business grew too! This friend of mine went from being this quiet woman to a woman with confidence and strength — the likes of which the lady I met had never known she had within her.
Moral of the story: Networking grows more than your business…it is a step to self improvement.
So do you need to network? Will your life depend on it?
I would say yes your livelihood depends on business generating clients to keep that paycheck coming in. Your business needs you to always grow as a business owner and leader, we don’t do that staying in our comfort zones. We must network to feel the fear. We must publicly speak to prove to ourselves that we can. These items build character and help stabilize financials for you the employee and for you the business owner.
Want to know about some networking in the Triad? Let me know! We can go together 🙂
Call me today for more Business Tips and Growth Ideas!