Networking has delivered more return on investment than any other tool in my business. Both financially and in non-monetary terms, my network has delivered so much value that I cannot imagine what my situation would be like without it. If there is one thing that I could suggest that would be guaranteed to boost any business, networking would be it.
The problem is, everyone who believes in networking recommends it the same way.
But how does it deliver value exactly?
There are many benefits to networking but you have to remember that we are dealing with people. You have to keep that in mind. Going out with a “what can I get?” attitude is going to sink your efforts before you begin. But, of course you need to know what return you are going to get before you invest, so here is what you can expect:
1. Friendship Benefits
I wanted to start with a benefit that does not necessarily convert to Dollars, Pounds or Euros. Do not overlook the simple benefit of having friends in the business with no strings attached. We need to know someone has our back, that we have people who are there for us. It can be lonely when you work alone, with only a monitor light to keep you company.
Having someone who understands is extremely valuable on a psychological and emotional level. Your friends can chat to keep you motivated and cheery, are a sounding board for ideas, or will listen to you moan when you need it.
Now to contrast with the touch-feely first benefit, here is where the big bang of ROI kicks in.
Opportunities like joint ventures, client leads, partnerships, speaking and writing gigs, businesses or assets bought and sold … you name it.
All the best opportunities are shared person to person in back channels. Everything from prime domain sales through to employment opportunities. If two people are equally qualified then it goes to who you know, like and trust. A lot of the time even when the person you like is less qualified. Getting passed over for plum gigs? This is why.
This one networking benefit alone has to be worth an astronomical amount.
There are two problems that stop people thinking of this benefit, though:
1. People do not give credit to their network when opportunities arise. They either think “Of course I got this opportunity, I am awesome” or they think they were just lucky.
2. Bad networking leads to a lack of opportunity, and can actually damage your ability to attract the best opportunities. It is better for nobody to know who you are, rather than be known as a jerk. Sorry, it is a simple truth.
We all like to give friends advice, and sometimes they even ask for it!
There are some things The Google can’t tell you. If I had gotten all the free advice I have received over the years from paid consultants then … well, I would have a massive deficit in my bank account or wouldn’t be writing this to you now.
There are informal advice and there are formal arrangements such as consulting swaps or masterminds. I am doing a consulting swap with a self development expert, he is fixing my brain and I am helping him with online marketing. Masterminds are where a group of people with common goals and values get together to push, encourage and advise each other.
If you only get occasional advice from your network then you are in significant net profit from your efforts.
Someone once told me the definition of a friend is someone who will help you move house with no notice and no expectation of payment. I’m not sure about that but I think mutual help is definitely part of the definition, and one of the ways you can benefit from networking. Not the house thing, the helping part.
• Promotion – Giving you a boost in traffic, reputation, or sales
• Community – Helping you build conversation and community
• Links – Links in terms of Google juice, or sharing news and info from their networks
• Introductions – Connecting you to people you would like to meet or who they think are awesome
• Getting you out of a hole – Fixing dodgy code, giving you a heads up when you goof, or having your back when someone attacks
5. Positive Influence
You become who you associate with. This works in the negative, as any parent will have thought about while considering who their kids friends are or will be. It also works in the positive, if you surround yourself with the right people then the attitudes, habits, world view, and associations will rub off.
Apparently there is some scientific basis for this, but I have seen it enough in my own life to know it is true. I grew up in a place where success and wealth were considered wrong. If you had nice things then you must be a bad person. You can see all around you what that does to a community.
Modeling successful people is a proven way to improve your own performance, what better than to be able to model people up close and personal?
The tribe you select will have a profound impact on your work and life, so choose well.
Full article: http://www.chrisg.com/networking-roi/