Most business owners agree that having a solid network is a vital element for long term survival and success. Our network includes our raving fans, our advisors, our referrers, our industry contacts and really anyone else who can play a positive role in our business.
To build a strong network takes time and energy. If you don’t invest enough of both in your network it will stop growing and bit by bit, you will start to feel the impact in your business as your network contracts and slowly dies.
So how exactly do we invest in our network? I suggest three key strategies:
1. Never take anyone in your network for granted
If you’ve had a business relationship with someone for 10 years, it’s easy to take that relationship for granted. Once you would called them to say thank you for referring a new client, now you don’t bother. We need to keep our relationships in our network fresh and never, ever take anyone for granted. Always make that call, send that note and go out of your way to say thank you.
2. Financially support people in your network
The best way to get more referrals is to give more referrals. I have always found that the greatest network building tool I can use is money. The more customers I can recommend to other businesses, the more customers they recommend to me. It is a wonderful cycle. Make referring business to others in your network a daily habit.
3. Support others in your network whenever the opportunity arises
Often people build a network for what they can get out of it. This is a short term philosophy that most people see through pretty quickly. When you build a network develop a reputation as a person who contributes, who helps others, who gives back and who treats others with respect.
Follow these three simple pieces of advice and over time you, will build an incredible network where you are valued and supported by many people for many years.