It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. We’ve all heard it a million times. At Early Growth Financial Services, we make sure we do both. We’re experts in our area, and we thrive on building relationships.
The purpose of networking
Networking is proactively nurturing relationships in order to maximize mutual beneficial growth. By meeting people, asking thoughtful questions, and following up with contacts, you and your business can benefit. (It should also be about how you can help others, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) Your network holds numerous potential wins, sales, and allies—all things that could affect your company in big ways.
The relationships we build here at EGFS help our clients. We consistently hear feedback saying that the introductions we make on behalf of our clients are crucial in their success. (Take a look at some of our client case studies to see what our clients say.)
Our network is not only beneficial to our clients, but also to us: Most of EGFS’s best leads are personal referrals. Creating friendships, strengthening partnerships, and fostering that referral network is key to our success.
Never eat alone
Our CEO David Ehrenberg makes it a point to be a networking role model for EGFS. His calendar is always booked solid: He meets people all day long—for coffee, breakfast, lunch, more coffee, happy hour, and dinner. David spends a lot of time creating relationship and credits his dedication to networking to the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
“I followed the Never Eat Alone philosophy when I started Early Growth, and I follow it to this day. Relationships drive growth, and they help companies hang on when markets slow down. Our business development team and our consulting CFOs all live the principles. We buy a copy for every new hire.”
Ferrazzi says, “I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like. Careers—in every imaginable field—work the same.” This philosophy has served David and EGFS well.
Keys to networking
Networking is work. Although it can be enjoyable and fun, it takes effort. Some people are naturally gregarious and disarming, which makes them natural networkers, but everyone can learn how to nurture partnerships that will enhance their lives and build their business.
- Show up. Whether it’s an in-person industry event or a LinkedIn group, take the time to get involved. Find groups where you fit it, but don’t overlook groups where you stand out either. If you’re the only landscape architect in a professional networking organization, your peers will be likely to refer you repeatedly.
- Be engaged. Learn names—even if it takes some mnemonic work. Listen actively. Ask good questions. Be open, honest (yet tactful), and authentic. Real connection between people often develops while sharing about vulnerabilities.
- Follow up. After making a contact, make plans to get together one on one to talk in a dedicated space. After you meet, follow up with the book recommendations or links you said you’d send.
- Be helpful. Find out how you can help others. If they’re looking for the skills of someone in your network, recommend someone you know and trust. Take the time to like and comment on posts, especially those of small business owners. Ask how you can help—retweeting an article or leaving a quick review could have a big impact for someone’s business. The time you spend building others up is an investment, and you could see big returns later.
It’s important to do this work now—to build your network before you need it—but to also keep creating new connections and nurturing partnerships as you continue to build your business.
Questions or Comments? Reach out to EGFS
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