Why do YOU Attend Networking Events?
Have I told you the story of David?
David has been running his business for over four years now. He left corporate world when he had the chance of a redundancy package and grabbed it with open arms, deciding that working for himself was a much better option.
It has been quite a journey! The first year David was very busy. He had plenty to learn as he set up his home office and was responsible for every day to day administrative task. If the printer had ran out of ink, or there were invoices to send out, he learnt it was all upto him.
Very little income came in that first year, but he was not worried. He needed to establish himself. Register a business name, create a business plan, get advise from an accountant, organise business cards, printing, a website and arrange a LinkedIn Profile. Infact, he found the list went on and on. Everyday he faced a new challenge.
David found working from home, made him feel quite isolated. Sometimes, he had no idea how to find the help he needed. He knew he needed to generate leads. He had heard he should write a blog and create a funnel, but had no idea how to go about it. He had never used used social media for business. He felt like a duck out of water, even though he had held a responsible job as a Senior Executive. Now there were so many hats to wear....
One morning, David was having coffee with Matthew, one of his cycling mates, who also had his own consulting business. As they talked, Matthew, suggested David would benefit from networking. Matthew had found that the time he had invested in building a good, strong network had been really valuable. He shared with David that not only had he found some prospect for his business, but had found suppliers and referrers he needed to help him work towards his goals. A huge benefit had been his ability to access knowledge and experience of others, and it was comforting to know others fced similar challenges and that he was not alone.
David attended lots of event over the next year or so, but found that many events were a waste of his time and money. People constantly were "selling to him". He wasn't attending events to be sold too...he wanted relationships as a foundation for his business. There had to be a better way! As his own boss, he decided he needed a networking strategy so he set himself KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) for the next 90 days to focus on creating connections he needed.
He planned which events he attended based on a clear intention for why he was attending each event, recorded who he connected with and made sure he followed up and tracked the outcomes.
What did he gain from this approach?
- Clarifying what David needed from his networking events, whether a suppler, client, referrer or likemined business friend, or knowledge , opportunities or collaboration helped to influence the events he chose.
- Allocating his time to no more than 4 events a month, allowed him to manage his family, personal and professional life better. He attended events that suited his family commitments, meet his goals and were enjoyable. If networking was part of his life, he might as well join a community of like-minded business professionals who meet regularly so he could form ongoing relationships, but he made a decison that weekly breakfast meetings were too time consuming and rigid for his schedule. He wanted to find events that combined his needs for knowledge, connection and opportunities in one event.
- David knew that he needed to be able to talk about his business and his business journey with others to demonstrate his expertise, knowing that "real" conversations with authentic people created know, like and trust and ultimately business opportunities.
David heard about Your Time Matters. Not only did they offer Business Strategy sessions they also ran professional and effective events. He attended YTM three times before he became a member and continues to enjoy his networking and has built himself a bigger and better business through nurtuturing connections he has made. Like all business owners, he likes to know where his next client will come from and cannot rest yet.
YTM also helped David boost his confidence when talking about his business prompted by the unique format created by YTM's founder, Kerryn Powell, that connects and engages participants to have deeper conversations by utilising conversation starter cards.
He enjoys the three different formats, where he is introduced to new people each month, has multiple, "matched" conversations which allow him to identify synergies and get to know others more quickly. David has benefited from the range of valuable insights presented each month by experienced Guest Presenters helping him to reflect and improve his business strategy.
Yes, networking plays an important part in David's business. As David suggests "Think carefully about your reasons for attending events and how you maximise your networking investment" .
If you would like to attend a YTM event the coming months or need help in developing your Networking Strategy, we can help. Contact us TODAY!