I read an article today on Entrepreneur.com and the title of the article was Richard Branson on How to Network. Hint: Early and Often. Here he discusses the importance of networking for a business owner.
I thought this was a great title for several reasons. One, Trish and I are always talking about the ‘how to’ of something. Two, I have always been a fan of Richard Branson and lately became a student of his. What I mean by that is I have recently started to study his business model.
In the article: Richard Branson on How to Network. Hint: Early and Often he says “However you go about making connections, from the very first moment you begin to realize that your idea is worth pursuing, the first step on the road to success is building a network.” He adds, “To get started, attend industry events and meet key players; join regional business associations and start learning about local market conditions. Also remember that you can meet potential mentors at schools, clubs and business groups. Someday, when you get stuck or when something goes wrong, these contacts will be the people you’ll turn to for help. (Finding investors is a step that follows: People buy from people, so if you’re limited in terms of who you can access, talk to and sell to, well, you probably won’t get very far.)”.
The first thing I noticed was that he did not say, “sit behind your computer and meet people via Social Media Channels.” OR “Tweet your way into someone’s space”. His suggestion is a proven method of interacting with people, attending events and meeting key players. And what I have found is that there are some business owners who are prone to trying to build a business behind their computer and behind their desk. Lured into the concept of building a business is ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ as putting up a website, tweeting, have a FB fan page, and meeting people on LinkedIn. Unfortunately the business owners who have been misled are often people who have not owned a business before. We work with a lot of coaches and this is one myth that we have to constantly bust through and that is that all they have to do is:
- Have a website.
- Use Social Media to ‘get’ new clients.
When we work with business owners who have a store front location one of their challenges is making time to network. Often the owners are busy doing all things in their business and networking takes a back set.
Networking is essential to grow a business, whether you have a store front business or a home based business (like coaching); as Branson says. “From the very first moment you begin to realize that your idea is worth pursuing, the first step on the road to success is building a network.” If you would like some tips on networking, here is an article for you to peruse.