Is Your Networking Not Working? 3 Simple Tips You Can Implement NOW to Accelerate Your Business Growth

Regardless of what type of business we have, two things need to happen for us to expand and grow our business and achieve our revenue goals. We need to 1) market our products and services and 2) someone needs to buy them. So what can you do every day that will accelerate your business growth? It’s simple, and honestly, it’s one of the more fun aspects of business. Any guesses? That’s right! NETWORKING

Every day identify people who need or want what you provide, or who know others who do. Better yet, call this RELATIONSHIP BUILDING; because at the end of the day, in this fast paced world, it’s the relationships you create that really matter. What are you waiting for? Keep reading for my tips on how to better create lasting relationships in your business venture!

Business Networking

# 1 Begin with the End in Mind
Before heading out to an event (luncheon, dinner party, seminar, or wherever you are going to be meeting people) determine what it is you want to accomplish and write down your intention.
Perhaps it is to meet 10 people, make 2 genuine connections, identify a strategic alliance, or to connect with one person who you could be of service to in the near future?

It is important to be clear about why you are there, and what you want to accomplish, otherwise you are just going out for a meal. Knowing what you want to accomplish will also help you determine whether your networking is giving you the intended ROI.

# 2 Respond Powerfully when others ask, “What do you do?”
In reality, people aren’t really interested in what you “do,” they are interested in how what you do benefits them or someone they know. They want to know how you can solve their problems. There are various templates for crafting your 30 – 60 second introduction (a.k.a. an elevator speech), but the main elements are:

• What you do and why?
• For whom do you do it?
• What problem do you solve?
• Why does it matter – what results will be achieved?
• What makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing?

Spend some time answering these questions and crafting your introduction. Practice saying it numerous times so it feels natural. Use it when you meet other people; see how it flows and what type of response it evokes.

#3 Who, What, When, How – Wasn’t Just for English Class

During conversations, focus on asking questions; especially open-ended questions that facilitate conversation flow and give you information on how you may be able to help those you are speaking with in the future. Open-ended questions typically start with what, how, when, and who; they solicit more than a one word response. Be genuinely interested in what others are saying. You may discover someone who could become a partner, a potential client, or know someone who could be a connection.

A great question to include in any conversation is “How would I know I’m talking to someone who would be a good contact for you?”.
This question comes from Bob Burg, author of The Go-Giver, Go-Givers Sell More, and it is a surefire way to make a lasting connection. After all, it gives the recipient the opportunity to tell you whom he or she would love to meet; and it lets you think about people in your network who might be good referrals.

While these tips may seem really simple, and they are, just doing 1 of these will result in significant changes to your networking and ultimately your bottom line.

Take a moment and reflect on the 3 tips. What could you choose to incorporate or modify, starting today, to make your networking more effective? Comment below or email me at Kim@SmallBizBIGBreakthrough.com to let me know how it’s going.

P.S. Be on the lookout for next weeks post. In it I will be sharing the ONE networking mistake that is resulting in money being left on the table and what to do it about so you can put more profits in your pocket.

You’re Fired! 3 Steps to Stop Being the Chief Everything Officer and Live Into Your CEO Potential

I had to fire someone today. Working in human resources for many years, “firing,” “letting go,” “severing,” was part of the job. Now, don’t get me wrong, the first time I had to fire someone, it was difficult, upsetting; in all honesty, it made me cry.

Job dismissal notice

Today; however, it was so personal. I had knots in my stomach as I stood up, looked in the mirror and gazed at my reflection.

“I’m sorry, but we don’t need a Chief Everything Officer anymore. Thank you for all you’ve done and your dedication, but this company cannot continue with you in that role. You are fired.”

“What?! But this is my company.”

“Yes, but we have an obligation to our shareholders, family, clients, and colleagues.”

“Shareholders? What is this Wall Street? Did my husband put you up to this?”

“Well, you have done some great work, and people do like you; that is, when you actually talk with them. We do need a Chief Executive Officer. Are you up for the job? We cannot promise you anything, but you most likely will have better hours and better pay.

I was stunned; I was shocked. Then I was also relieved.

Being the Chief Everything Officer is draining. However, add being a perfectionist and feeling like you need to do everything yourself or it will not be right, and you’ve got yourself a 24/7 job.

It can also be very difficult to give up. As the Chief Everything Officer we are too busy list building, networking, building a website, preparing content, and managing the financials. The problem is when we try to do everything ourselves (and do it perfectly) we end up with a sufficient amount of incomplete work.

Worse yet, we end up doing everything EXCEPT what we must do – talk to prospects and bring in new clients (aka SELLING). We are busy, but not productive. The biggest tragedy is that we are not doing what we love to do, the whole reason we went into business in the first place.

The end result…we wind up frustrated, discouraged and falling far short in the client department. We wonder if it’s worth it; if we should just get a job. Maybe that little voice that tells us we are not good enough gets even louder and taunts us with “I told you so.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. The first step to being the Chief Executive Officer is to take some time to look at what you are doing, or at least what’s on that to do list.

Here is an exercise to get you started:

1) Make 4 columns on a piece of paper
Column 1: Love to Do, Great At It & Would Do It All Day Long
Column 2: Like to Do It, Takes Time & Energy
Column 3: Can Do It, Don’t Like to
Column 4: Dislike It, Don’t Ever Want to Do it

2) Brainstorm all the activities you do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and put each one in one of the columns. I invite you to not judge yourself or the activity and just complete each of the columns.

As you complete each column, what are you noticing? Is there a theme of the type of activity in each of the columns? What would your business be like if your days were spent on the activities you placed in Column 1?

Now, I have to bring this up. If you placed Sales in Column 4 we need to have a conversation pronto. No Sales = No Revenue = No Money. It also means the people you are meant to serve aren’t hearing about you or able to find you.

3) Delegate or Drop the Activities in Column 4
The activities in the “Dislike It & Don’t Ever Want to Do It” Column are most likely things that are continuously getting carried over on your “to do list”. It’s not surprising because it is not your sweet spot. It’s the stuff you dread but the fact that is following you around week after week is keeping you from embodying your full CEO potential. Someone else will best do these activities, whether it is someone on your team, a virtual assistant or other external resource, so outsource them.

Outsourcing some of our work can be uncomfortable, even scary. What if they don’t do it right? What if it costs too much money? Here’s the thing, yes it might cost money and yes it may not be as perfect as you envision it. But, it will be done (and probably faster and better then you imagined) and the money invested here frees up your time and energy for the things you love to do, which brings in revenue.

The real question is: can you afford to keep trying to do everything yourself?

Fortune Cookies, Entrepreneurship and a Boy Named Tony

iStock_000001064025XSmallIt was noisy in the Chinese restaurant, as restaurants in Manhattan usually are, but we liked this place; plus there are only so many places to get vegetarian food. We were squeezed in at a little table as the wait staff hustled around us. The meal was great, and then came the fortune cookies. “You can stop looking, happiness is right beside you,” I read to my boyfriend of 3 months.

You need to keep that, he said. “There is something I’ve been meaning to ask you”. He shared with me that he was going to visit his parents at the end of the month and needed to know if I saw myself marrying him. Huh? I had just moved to NYC. I’ve known him 3 months. Why did he need to know this now? Well, his family would expect him to get married when he was home.

He put off his trip; and we spent the next several months going on with our lives as a couple, having fun and experiencing NYC to the fullest. When he did return home, it was with the resolve that we would stay together and all would be well. It did not go well. I graciously let him off the hook, I was angry and my heart was broken.

Fast forward: we have been married for 12 years, have a dog and a daughter. Kiran and daddy are playing a game of pretend. She is Miranda. He tells her his name will be Tony. Wow, that brings me back many years. When I first met my husband, he introduced himself as Tony. He figured it would be easier to say.

To borrow from singer Kelly Clarkson, “…what doesn’t’ kill you, makes you stronger.” That year was one of the most challenging I’ve ever experienced, but it set me up for more than I could have imagined.

When I think the road ahead seems too difficult, I just look back and remember the road I’ve already traveled and the souvenirs I’ve picked up along the way:

Don’t let others limit your future. There will always be naysayers, people who are married to convention and anything outside of that is scary or wrong. Building a business can be scary at times; you may feel helpless and at the mercy of others, but to succeed you will have to push yourself beyond the crowd and boldly go after what you want. Listen to your heart and follow it.

Persistence pays off. It is easy to give up; to say, “Well they said, ‘No.’ so I’ll pack up and go home or try something else.” True, “no” is a closed door, but you must go through the closed door to get to the opening (“yes”). The courage is in hearing NO, but continuing to move forward. Here is a tidbit for you: 90% of second businesses succeed; however, only 80% of business owners ever start that second business after the first one failed.

Belief in yourself, and faith that you can have what you know you want must keep you determined and going. My husband is a perfect example of knowing what you want and moving mountains to get it. How clear are you on what you want? Do you believe it is in your future? Do you believe that you will have it, and that you are worthy of having it? Often we really want something, but are not always convinced the “YES” is there waiting for us. The “YES” is always there. It may not look like we thought it would look, and it may not be when we thought it would be; but it is always there.

Now that I think about it, these souvenirs are worth displaying. It’s time to dust them off. What have you taken away from your journey that needs to be dusted off and brought back out again?