By Bradley Hatchett – Founder of Network My Club

I regularly get asked; “why would I join a networking group, when I could just pay to attend events as and when I want?”

Of course, you can do that. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Why? As it’s January and many have set that goal of going to the gym more. Let’s break it down using that as an analogy.

Ask someone why they join a gym. You’ll hear them reply; “to get myself in shape,” “to make myself stronger,” “to make myself healthier” or “to improve myself.”

Now, change the word ‘myself’ to ‘my business’…

It might not make complete sense, but you get the idea. Let’s dive into it.

“To get myself healthier” = “To get my business healthier”

Improving the overall health of your business through networking can be in several ways.

New business is an obvious way of achieving that. But this starts by increasing your close connections and network. Building partnerships with referrers. Also, friendships with others you share common interests with.

These will all contribute to the goal of increasing new business opportunities and thus making your business healthier.

“To make myself stronger” = “To make my business stronger”

Linked to the above, this isn’t about increasing the number of connections made. It’s how you develop these new relationships.

Your approach to networking should be based around developing strong, long-term relationships. The stronger the relationships, the stronger position your business will be as you grow an army of supporters, advocates, and clients.

You don’t go to the gym once and are able to lift ultra-heavy weights.

You shouldn’t go networking once and expect new business.

Both require the need to build up your strength (or strength in relationships) over time by being consistent.

“To get myself fitter” = “To get my business fitter”

People network for many reasons.

We hear from members how they haven’t used membership just to grow their network. But how they’ve learned from others, shared business challenges and grown professionally.

Through networking they’ve built a diverse and rich network from a range of industries, benefitting from advice and insight relating to their expertise (whilst sharing theirs too).

Implement that shared wisdom into your business. Help it get ‘fitter.’

How do you maximise your time at the gym/networking?

There are other elements at the gym that help you improve yourself. It’s not just about stepping through the door or the equipment.

The same applies with networking.

Training Partners

You will see regular faces at the gym. And over time, you begin to get to know them. Eventually they may become your training partner.

In networking terms, think of these people as those you pass referrals to and receive referrals from. Your networking partners.

Most of our members realise new business not via direct new business, but from referred business from others they’ve built relationships with.

Think, what industries do you pass referrals to and/or receive referrals from? They are your potential training partners in waiting.

Personal Trainers

Some people need that extra motivation or accountability when it comes to training or going to the gym, right?

Our members can view our team as their personal trainers to help maximise their membership and achieve their networking objectives. 

This could include facilitating introductions. Suggesting good people for them to speak to. Marketing support outside of the events.

However, we can’t do it all for you. You need to show up regularly. Just like the gym.

Diet

You may have heard the phrase that 20% is achieved in the gym and 80% is achieved by good nutrition.

Treat your diet in networking terms as what you do before and after an event.

Pre and post networking event activity are crucial to achieving results from your networking. From researching the guest list before attending to following up afterwards.

Think of networking as a sandwich. The event is the filling (the main attraction), but the bread is what you do before and after. It holds it together.

It Starts with Mindset

You may regularly hear the phrase ‘network with like-minded businesses.’

But doesn’t that sound a bit…buzzwordy? What does it truly mean?

It means being part of a network where you all share the same beliefs and principles to networking. Ideally that approach is that of being supportive, open-minded and collaborative, with a view to build long-term relationships.

Aren’t they the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with?

We all know those people that go to the gym a few times and never go back because they don’t see results straight away. I see the same at networking.

Surrounding yourself with the right people with shared values of networking and the chances of it working for you increase dramatically.

Networking success starting before you’ve walked into a room. It starts with your mindset. Get this right and the preceding points are easy and become habits. 

Now, go and start flexing those networking muscles!

We all know those people that go to the gym once and never go back because they don’t see results straight away. The same can be said with your networking.
To this day, it baffles me when I hear the response, “the event was great, but I haven’t had any new business from it yet so I don’t think it’s for us.” Yes we try edcuate. But it’s here we establish this person or company is perhaps not the right fit for our membership and other members.

Start your journey to a healthier business by joining the Network My Club family.

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