Each week, millions of people tuned into the hit show Survivor to see who would be "voted off the Island" and who would form "an alliance." As hindsight is 20/20, it should have come as no surprise that Richard Hatch, a corporate trainer, who was savvy enough to strategize an alliance early on, was dubbed the "Survivor."
Survival skills on the island are not too far away from survival skills in the business world. Successful people understand that they need an alliance-a network--to survive. As any rainmaker will attest, it takes a village to build a business.
If you try to grow your business without a network, you are like a trapeze artist performing without a net. It's not worth the risk. The "survivors" understand the importance of a dependable circle of contacts. You may be thinking, "I'm too busy to take time away from the office for lunch." Or you may have said time and time again, "I'd like to go home after a long day at the office and enjoy my family. I don't have time for another event filled with name tags and rubber chickens."
If this is the case, you must change your thought patterns. Change your thinking, and your actions will follow. The trick is to make networking not another chore but a way of life. Those who have mastered the art have learned how to use their personal life to help their professional life and visa versa. In many instances, friends may refer clients and clients may become friends.
Call them relationship builders, schmoozers, rainmakers, alliance-makers, or whatever-the-in-term-may-be, the old-fashioned business getters use people skills whenever and wherever they are. They are "on" all the time, alert for new business opportunties. And, they are having fun.
To be a "business survivor" you must engage in activities that you love. Coaching your child's Little League Team, working out at a gym, joining the Hauppauge Industrial Association or volunteering to walk at the upcoming American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" on October 15th are all ways to increase your network. You never know where your next client or customer will come from. So keep filling your plate with good stuff. Don't over extend yourself, either. If you say you are going to show-up, then show-up 100%. You will be appreciated, remembered, and the business will follow.
In my next column, I will tell you how to make the most out of your networking. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) Debra Scala 2000