How to Cast a Bigger Net for Your Small Business

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fishing net

Everyone talks about networking.

But who is doing it right?

Is there a right way to network?

Networking Just to Network Does NOT Make Sense

This is the title of an article I wrote for Entrepreneur Magazine. The point of the post was that when you network you should have a reason and a purpose. Everyone can benefit from a strong network.

Networking is not a dirty word. Anyone can benefit from having a solid network of friends, contacts and associates that can be called upon to help. As you should already know … There is an implied reciprocity in every successful network. You may not be called upon to provide the same in-kind services as you received. Your level of commitment and reciprocity will vary based on what particular skills you can bring to the specific situation.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”
~African Proverb

Ultimately networking is a way for you to give back and also get a little something in return. I personally see networking as mostly a way to give back. Perhaps that’s naïve, but I have found that giving back brings me a lot of personal satisfaction.

Four Simple Rules I’ve learned about Networking

  1. Grow your Network – While this may seem obvious and a bit redundant, I think it’s perfectly fine to let people know that you are growing your network. With a caveat … see no. 2.
  2. Build Relationships with your Network Participants – As you build your network, never forget these are personal relationships. As you are growing your network, you should seek people that reflect your values, can be trusted with your information, and vice-versa.
  3. Become Known as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) – Everyone is good at something. Whatever it is that you are good at … highlight it, emphasize it, and offer it to your network. Seek people that have other strengths to augment yours and build something bigger.
  4. Develop High Quality Clients and Work – As you do your best work, you can and should ask for referrals. These referrals form the foundation of your network. Of your future success. Don’t take or give referrals lightly as they are a key indicator of your ability to make a difference.

My Ultimate Rule of Thumb on Networking

Respect everyone. You never know who you might run into in the future. The network you build today can help you as you grow your career, your business and your life.

Is there only one right way to network? Is there only one way to network?
The answer to both questions is no.

Network in the ways that work for you. If you decide they aren’t working … change them. This is how to grow your career and your circle of influence. By taking responsibility for your network and realizing it is your job to grow your network will stand out in your career.

Cast Fishing Net Photo via Shutterstock

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Personal Branding Blog The Personal Branding Blog is part of the Small Business Trends Publisher Channel, offering branding and career advice from Dan Schawbel and his team of experts. The blog helps professionals build a powerful brand to remain competitive in the job market.

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3 Reactions

  1. Hi, I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions but even though we are now 11 days into 2016, I have this urge to commit more to networking. It is definitely a weakness where I’m a bit off and on!



  2. I LOVE your article PBB!

    It is true that if the system is not working for you, CHANGE it! It sounds simple, but that’s the only you can move on forward. You have to think of growing your network or else you’ll probably stick with your status quo while others are miles away from you.


  3. Your ultimate rule of thumb should be renamed as the golden rule.

    Too many times I’ve witness people treat others with less respect than they deserve and it has only come back to bite them on the ass.

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