Talking the Talk: Getting Connected and Networking

The old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Yes. It’s trite. It’s subjective. It’s vague. And, doesn’t it sound to you a bit devaluing? You’ve spent most of your adult life working at becoming the best you can possibly be at whatever venture you’re embarking on – school, sports, relationships, business – and someone has the audacity to essentially say to you, Listen, you’re really talented and hardworking, and that’s wonderful! But do you know the right people? It seems almost disrespectful. But there’s no way around it. People are going talk. And, what can be extremely excellent for your business, is that people are going to listen. Knowing the right people and becoming involved in networking groups will help your business soar.

It isn’t enough anymore to just start a business, get some marketing data, and advertise around town to really bring in new business. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a necessary beginning, but you can’t stop there. You have to get connected. There are two major avenues in which to connect yourself to other business owners in your area. But before I discuss the ways to get connected, let me explain a little more about why you want to get connected.

You want to get connected because every person you meet will know at least two people that you don’t…Period.

That, in all its brief glory, is why you want to get connected. Do the math. You’re at the center of this spider’s web. You meet one new person and they introduce you to two new people, who, by the law that I just stated, will each know two more people you hadn’t yet met. it’s all one big pyramid scheme, but the good kind. You get to keep your savings with this one. (Hopefully you’ll get to add to it, too.)

Of these seven new people you just met, who knows, five might be looking for someone exactly like you who does the exact work you’ve spent so much time working on. Now you have five new clients. The system works.

Or, maybe none of the seven people you just met will have any real use for you. That’s OK. They will now know your name, your business, and your telephone number. When they meet people from now on who are in search for a business like yours, your name will come surely come up.

And because you’re a smart business person who has taken it upon yourself to get connected, you will return that favor to the next seven people you meet. You will keep all of their business cards and in a year, say, when you meet a client who is looking for something specific that you cannot provide for them (new flooring for their storefront, a good mechanic, anything!), now you introduce them to two new people. The cycle continues.

So how do you get connected? Easy.

First, do some research about your city’s Chamber of Commerce, maybe they hold weekly meetings for local business owners to attend and meet one another. Attend these meetings as often as you can. Introduce yourself to everyone and be earnest when you talk to them about how you can help them. Remember, they may know “just the guy” for you to contact. If the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t offer these gatherings, then try to find any networking events that are happening in your area. You may have to pay to join, but your goal is to meet as many people as you can. These networking events are great for getting connected with an eclectic group of business owners.

Secondly, if you have already, create and vigilantly maintain an account on LinkedIn. It’s one vast networking meeting that takes place 24 hours a day and on every continent. Yes, even Antarctica.

Since I began this article with an overwrought yet true statement about how knowing the right people can lead to major success, remember this old, near-dead saying, “What goes around comes around.”

Go meet people.