Tag: #Networkingworks #businessnetworking #buildingrelationships

I’m in charge…help!

Recently I was talking to a contact about what it was like becoming self-employed. She said she hadn’t realised that growing her business was not going to be quick and how lonely self-employment can be. This got me thinking.

I became self-employed after years in the corporate world. There I had become quite senior and had people around me who did things: IT, finance, recruitment, admin etc and, more importantly, work was generated by the internal processes, I never had to get work, work came to me. Then I became self-employed. I can remember the first day, sitting at my desk, waiting for the work to arrive. I suddenly realised that not only did I have to go and get work (I sort of knew that) but I also had to be all the support for my business—IT, finance, recruitment, admin etc. I tried to generate work by moving my phone around but that didn’t work and I made lists of who might want my service and what “other stuff” I needed to do to run my business. I also drank a lot of coffee and cleaned a lot of cupboards! I was overwhelmed.

I was extremely fortunate because some of my friends had said they would use my service so I contacted them and that got me started. It also meant that I could practise and fine-tune my business processes and practices within a supportive environment. More importantly, they introduced me to their contacts and so the business grew. What also happened was that a contact I had made introduced me to networking. I soon realised that I had always networked, had always worked at building business relationships. So, I was comfortable with networking and realised that the people I met were able to provide the services that would support my business. This meant I could focus absolutely on doing the jobs I got and getting more jobs.

I’ve just written the last two sentences in a few minutes but the growth of my business, despite all the network of support, took a couple of years to feel stable and that feeling is always there at some level. On March 23rd, 2020 the announcement of lockdown meant that on paper I didn’t have a business. It really proved to me that as a business owner I must always be vigilant and not take things for granted.

25 years after starting my first business I’m still self-employed, still living by my three rules (have fun, never do anything I don’t want to do with anybody I don’t want to do it with, never work full-time or permanently for anybody again) and I am still staying vigilant. The difference from when I started is now I have people who know me and support me, sometimes by providing services to my business, people who are fans of my business and who introduce business people to me. But I still remain vigilant because none of us know what the future holds.

Thank you for reading, here is my gift to you: my Top 20 networking tips just follow this link: ebn.uk.com and complete the form to receive your copy.

Have fun,

Glenys

I’m too busy to network

Recently I was talking to a business contact who said she was too busy at the moment to network. It is great that her business is thriving, but I think she is wrong about thinking the right time to network is when she is not busy.

Why? Because networking takes time. It’s a slow burn and people need to get to know you before they will be prepared to trust their reputation by referring you to their contacts. If you don’t network there may be a steep downturn between busy and no work at all. You need to maintain relationships, or even start to build relationships. I know this balancing of actual work against possible work is difficult, but remember: networking can be done by email, via social media, telephone calls, virtual meetings or 1-2-1s. Networking is about starting conversations, starting to build relationships. If the past months have taught us anything, it is that face-to-face is fantastic. I can’t wait to get back to those meetings, but there are other ways that allow networking.

Also, when you network skills are learnt, maintained and improved by practice, so if you stop networking, because you’re too busy, your skills can become rusty. In addition, maintaining your networking means that you stay on people’s radar. If you stop networking people will forget you, however fabulous you are, or think you’ve gone out of business, particularly given the challenging times we have all had since March 2020.

One of the things I have noticed in this last year+ is the number of new people who are networking, either because they decided to start a business in a very difficult year or because they have started to network because they feel more confident being in their office than in a room full of people. (If this is you, make face-to-face networking easy by reading my blog “The 3-3-3 rule” https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=34 )

Why is this relevant to your decision to network or not? Because if you don’t network you will miss the opportunity to meet all these new people and that’s a fabulous opportunity missed in my opinion, because you don’t know who they know.

So—don’t leave networking for when you aren’t busy. Add some networking to your diary every day, even if it’s just a phone call as you drink your morning coffee. Find a way to maintain your presence, contacts, and relationships. Networking works, I know. I now do it for a living.

If you want more networking tips go to: https://blog.ebn.uk.com/tips-on-networking.html

Have fun, stay safe

Glenys

Don’t ask? Don’t get!

Whenever I wish someone a happy birthday I say “May your day be filled with love, laughter, fun and cake” which, to my mind, is a recipe for a perfect life, not just for a birthday. People then say variations of “Thank you” and I then ALWAYS ask “Will there be cake?” then, and because I am a very supportive person, I offer to help with any leftovers. Suffice to say I have never received any cake and I thought this was always going to be the case. Then one of my Linkedin connections said, “Where do you live?”

We discovered that we live about a mile apart. How amazing is that? Then she said, and this is not verbatim,” I’ve got loads of cake because apart from being my birthday I have also launched my book. I’ll bring some round”. Gasp! And she did! We had a lovely chat, with me about 4 metres away from her, and her being very respectful of the distancing. Then my beloved and I sat down to a cup of tea and some delish cakes (it was mid-afternoon on a Saturday afternoon when she arrived in case you are wondering).

When networking, I always want people to ask me for what they want or need. Why? Because I am always fabulous, but I am never going to be a mind reader (which is probably a good thing!). This applies to you and everyone you meet. If you need something you have to ask. That’s one of the reasons we network: people want to help. Don’t be pushy when asking, but that always applies in networking—and life—because no one likes pushy. Ask, don’t demand. Don’t get disillusioned or upset if you don’t get what you ask for, that’s how life goes. But one day you will ask someone like Elizabeth Forbes-Stobbe and you will get what you ask for and strengthen a connection.

What do you think?

In the meantime, here’s my gift to you to help with you networking, my Top 20 networking tips .

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

Time is of the essence. Part 2

You will probably not be surprised to know that I do a lot of networking. Now, of course, networking is my only business, so I do it as business as well as for business. But I have always done networking as a major part of my marketing, whatever business I have owned. The result of all this activity is that I meet lots of wonderful people. However, I have a problem…I forget things. (Strangely this is getting worse the older I get so I think maybe my brain has reached storage capacity.)

Often this memory loss looks like this: after the event I gaze at the business card I have from someone (or in these virtual days I gaze at the chat, or at a picture on LinkedIn). (Actually, LinkedIn photos are a whole other blog) and I gaze but can I remember them, no.

I am sure I am not alone in this memory glitch syndrome, so I thought I’d share what I do when doing the obligatory follow-up*. The upshot of this reality of my life is that I have a rule, which is: if there are any outstanding follow-ups from the previous week still outstanding they always get done on a Monday. Why? Because:

  • People don’t get forgotten, and feel ignored (yes they might contact you, but they may not, and your marketing should not be dependent on other people making the best use of their networking),
  • I have a clear ‘to do’ list as I start the new week’s networking, and given the memory issue,
  • I can say “Great/good/lovely to meet you last week” and I know I have met them last week!

So, when networking and building relationships, time, for me, is really of the essence.

Need some help with your networking?

Go to: www.ebn.uk.com  and download my Top 20 Networking tips.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys

* Don’t do follow ups? Go to: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=57 to find out why I think you should.

Is it OK to lick people?

There seems to be a change in the atmosphere. The news is more positive, jabs are being given and people are starting to talk about what will stay virtual once we are able to meet face-to-face again. Certainly, people have said that some things which they always did face-to-face will now stay virtual and some things will go back to face-to-face as soon as it is possible.

This has got me thinking about how my opinion has changed since the first lockdown. I had thought that I need to meet someone to know if I liked them. That is no longer true. Since 23rd March 2020 I have met some great new, strong contacts and I have never met them. We have never shaken hands or chatted over a sticky bun. I have also met some people who I wouldn’t want to spend any more time with. (See: https://www.ebn.uk.com/blog/?p=154)

This year we launched our afternoon networking events. They are, and will always be, virtual. They are different from our Groups because: there is no membership involved (although if you are a member they are free to attend), they are afternoon meetings, not over breakfast and people can come and go as they wish within the two hours of the event. Still great people to meet, and since people are coming from all over I may never meet these people face-to-face, but now I know that my ‘Spidey senses’ are able to separate the two types of people.

So, soon we may be able to safely meet. We can, as appropriate, shake hands, hug, kiss. People who know me know I get quite excited, so, my question is—is it ever OK to lick people rather than ice cream?

Need some help with your networking?

Go to www.ebn.uk.com and download my Top 20 Networking tips.

Have fun, stay safe.

Glenys