Want to ensure 2023 is a great year in business for you? Make networking a key part of your marketing strategy with our simple resolutions.
I know we’ve not even hit Christmas yet and you’re probably enjoying all the Christmas parties, food and fizz (I know I certainly am!). But if I could just, for a moment, talk about next year, I think it will be time well spent…
There’s no escaping the fact that the challenges facing businesses are going to persist into 2023. Spiralling costs, low consumer spend, and tax hikes are all going to feature. Your network is going to be more important than ever. That concept of ‘meet, know, like, trust’ is going to help your secure valuable introductions, referrals and recommendations. If networking isn’t already a key part of your marketing strategy for 2023, now is the time to do something about that with our handy guide to making networking resolutions you can keep AND that work.
Resolution 1: Growth is a team effort
Growing a business requires support, advice, referrals, and great role models and mentors to learn from and emulate. Resolve to be more open in your networking. I know this can feel a bit scary and counter-intuitive (after all aren’t we supposed to present an uber successful version of ourselves?!) but opening up about challenges and being open to ideas from others will help you build trust amongst your network and will help them understand how they can help you.
Resolution 2: Be a bit selfish
Choose your networking community based on your needs, rather than networking according to the needs of others.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t give as much as you get, networking is a two-way street, but resolve to make sure you feel aligned to those you are engaging with, that they’re driven by the same values as you, and that you have a mutually agreed way of supporting and each other.
Resolution 3: An organised network is an effective network
Whether you are a solopreneur, leading a small team or part of a larger organisation, build your network with an organisational structure. Think about who’s in your network that can support you in different areas of personal and professional development. Identify where there are gaps in your network org chart and actively seek out ways to plug those gaps.
Resolution 4: If you don’t ask, you won’t get
Away from the organised networking meetings is where you can really start to deepen relationships and develop understanding of how you can support each other. In Opendoorz, these ‘insight’ meetings as we call them are an integral part of membership and everyone is encouraged to have at least two insights a month. Over the last 12 years of running Opendoorz, we’ve shown time and again that those members who have more insight meetings get more business referrals and introduction.
It can be a tad nerve-wracking reaching out to people at first (In my experience, phone calls to arrange a coffee – in person or over Zoom – always have a better outcome than sending an email or LinkedIn message.) However, rest assured that people actually like you reaching out to them to pick their brains and ask them for their opinion, because it boosts their confidence to know you value their opinion. It also gives them an opportunity to explain to you more about what they do, which is great for both of you. Pretty soon, whenever someone asks you if you know someone who?… you have a real live person whom you know, like, and trust that you can recommend. And while you’re recommending them, they’re doing the same for you!
Resolution 5: Be authentically you (after all no one else does ‘you’ better!)
We’ve all been to networking events where the main aim seems to be shoving as many business cards into other people’s hands as possible and where people glaze over the moment they realise you’re not going to buy from them that day.
One of the main reasons we established Opendoorz was to show that there was another way, a better way, of networking. We knew, from bitter experience (we’ll tell you in the bar sometime!), that networking is most effective when you are genuine, open and honest. No egos, no hard sell, just genuine relationships built on trust and good understanding.
To that end, resolve to find the right networking environment for you. One where you feel confident and comfortable being you. It’s a bit like buying a house – can you picture yourself ‘living’ there?
2023 can be a great year, despite the wider challenges we’re all going to face but it does require a resolve and a commitment from each of us, plus the help and support of solid network. Start planning now what you want to achieve next year and you’ll be ahead of the curve. I promise you this time next year, you’ll be glad you did.
Our Opendoorz members tell us that the support they get through the group and insight meetings is a key factor of success. Opendoorz currently has ten (soon to be twelve!) professional networking groups operating across Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Buckinghamshire and a community of more than 120 members. Our guest events are lively affairs where business owners and directors meet, share knowledge & expertise, as well providing support and motivation. Why not give yourself the best chance of success in 2023 and come along to an Opendoorz guest event? https://www.opendoorz.biz/contact