Well, after being sick for almost 7 weeks already (grrrr) and having a baby 10 days ago (YAY!) I am finally getting back into the swing of things.
One big Aha and one big reflections came up for me in starting these projects.
The Aha, was with the Attraction Marketing Program. Here I had a step by step program that should help me to build my Professional Coaching practice, but I didn’t have the time to put into it. I then realized that I could hold the vision and goal for a project but not be at the center of it. So I hired a student to spend 3-5hrs per day to follow the program and test it for me. The investment is small and the risk is low, considering the fact that I have already used similar ideas to grow my businesses.
The Reflection and focus of this post was in building my LinkedIn network.
My desire is to focus my Professional Coaching towards Business Executives and Teams. I needed to connect with people that fit this category. The logical venue for this seemed to be LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. Unlike networks such as Facebook and Twitter which have a more casual feel to them, LinkedIn users are there to focus on their business and profession.
In reaching out to LinkedIn users in my contact list, I actively bypassed fellow Coaches and began making contact with as diverse a crowed as possible.
As I was going through the process, I reflected on how so many networking circles/events put people of the same profession/business together. What is the likelihood of a bunch of real estate agents getting together and selling each other houses, or referring their own clients to the competition?
When approaching Networking, I think there should be to areas of focus.
1. Peer Networking – This is where you get together with peers in the same field and share ideas and help each other grow. There are plenty of people to serve, more that you can handle in a lifetime. Sharing ideas will help you improve and grow your profession as a whole. I would recommend going networking on this level at the least on a quarterly basis.
2. Customer/Client Networking – This is where you are looking for business. In this situation avoid your business peers like the plague. Look for events where there will be a diverse group of people that meet the criteria of your target market. If you meet someone who is in the same field as you, be polite, but limit your conversation, you are on a mission to find customers/clients to serve, not to share ideas. You should be going to these events (on or offline) as often as you feel you need to make your business grow.
Ultimately when you are about to begin a networking process, the first step is to THINK about what your vision and goals are.
Questions you can ask yourself:
What is my purpose for Networking?
What is the outcome that I am looking for?
How will this event serve my purpose and objectives?
How do I need to prepare myself?