People often misunderstand the importance of networking and often confuse it with an opportunity to sell, but networking is about cultivating relationships, about giving without expecting something in return.
The ability to forge connections and build rapport is a great asset that everyone can and should be doing. However, many often fail at networking by misjudging the concept of networking. It isn’t a simple matter of attending events and pumping out business cards. The fundamental core of networking is doing something specific each week that is focused on networking for business growth. Establish your intention, define your purpose, remain focused and maintain consistency.
Networking for your business growth must be strategic and dedicated. It means you must be proactive. You need to actively engage with your contacts, align your ethos and values and keep in mind these are relationships, not vending machines for new contracts. The quality of your relationships influences your possible future referrals.
Not everyone you meet can help move your business forward, but everything you do can be driven by the intention to grow your business. You have total control over whom you meet, where you meet them, and how you develop and leverage relationships for mutual benefit. By staying focused on developing long term contacts and building your social capital, you'll find avenues of opportunity that you may have otherwise never discovered, and you will be making an invaluable investment in the steady growth of your business.