Franchisees, just like all entrepreneurs, rely on networks to succeed. Relationship capital is crucial in the business world, and the right connections can dramatically boost your entrepreneurial success. How can you take your ordinary network and make it highly effective? Take a look at these tips and tricks.
Curate. Do you meticulously save every single business card that comes your way? If you answered yes, you need to stop doing so. Accumulating masses of business cards isn’t helping you to expand your network in any kind of meaningful way. In fact, it’s probably just creating unnecessarily clutter. A good general rule of thumb is to only keep a business card from someone who can help you solve a problem. In general, it’s a good idea to focus on the influencers in your niche, or those people who have influence over the market and consumer behavior. The bottom line? Keep your network lean. It’s all about quality, not quantity.
Diversify, diversify, diversify. The best, most robust networks are diverse networks, ones that include a range of different influencers from your own niche as well as one from related niches. Ideally you want a network that includes individuals of a range of experience levels and expertise.
Find bridges. One of the keys to successful networking is to find bridges, or those individuals who have their own powerful, well-leveraged networks. A connection with one bridge can lead to a whole new wealth of contacts.
Nurture connections with your most valuable clients. Think of your most valuable clients as your brand’s MVPs. These clients will advocate and promote your brand, so it is in your best interest to give them extra attention and keep them especially happy. Always be aware of clients who are the most enthused and engaged, even if they aren’t your biggest buyers.
Engage. You don’t just need to build a network. You need to maintain it. This requires engagement. In other words, don’t let your network languish. Don’t just take from your contacts — be prepared to give. Offer guidance and advice, and always, always say thank you for any kind of help you receive. Remember, a bit of gratitude can go a long way. Last but not least, never be afraid to reach out with a phone call, email, or quick bite to eat.
Article by Jason Duncan, CEO/Founder of ManagerComplete.com. ManagerComplete is an online software application that helps multi-unit franchises manage operations effectively. Follow him onTwitter for latest updates.