The Dirty Secret to Success...NetworkingJan 14, 2022
When I graduated from high school, I decided to take some time off. I worked, I trained, and I studied. I also started a popcorn business called Podyum.
It’s been tough. With absolutely no experience beyond credit for Introduction to Business that I got in grade nine, diving into the business world was a learning experience and a half.
Now that I’m so far along with my business, I find myself looking back, asking myself what the most crucial element to success was. The answer was all too clear - networking.
I didn’t realize that just being nice to people was so important. When you’re polite with people, you initiate conversation, or even just say hello as you pass by, you’re investing in the relationship and building a network. As good as that is on its own, it becomes even better when they can connect you to people you need or even are the people you need.
When I started a business, all of a sudden my friends and acquaintances were means of getting cheaper, higher quality, or even free products and services. Especially interacting with people at the local gym, you get much more diversity than your regular peer group when it comes to careers.
And the best part - there’s no drawback to being friendly. Maybe you never end up using their expertise, but perhaps they know someone who can help you. There are a lot of people out there. If everyone knows 50 people, and each of those people know 50 people...you end up with a lot of potential opportunities.
Networks are also good for favours. Like asking a friend for something, a favour from someone valuable in your network is really important and sometimes it’s the only way to get something done. For example, I know the owners of the local climbing gym, and one day I was having trouble fitting my workout into the regular hours. I called them up and asked if I could come in after close to get my workout done, and they agreed. Not only did I complete a session that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, but I’m also really happy, and definitely will be a customer for life.
It’s a two-way street.
Then, your network potentially becomes your customer base. Say you want to pursue personal training, write a book, or sell a product online. Your network is where your business begins. They give you the first feedback on your ideas, they point you in the direction of people that would be interested, and they are the easiest people to get your product to.
Unlike a friend group, a network takes you out of your element. They can reach the people you’re looking for, but don’t know how to find. They reveal the connections you didn’t know you had, and never thought you’d need.
So talk. Socialize. Don’t hang on to friends, hang on to connections. Be someone people want to interact with, and even more, be there when they need something. Maybe you’ll hold the key to the person they’re looking for, or better yet, you are the person they’re looking.
Article by: MADISON FISCHER
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