Networking Dos and Don’ts

Networking is a must for any businesswoman. We know this.  It is practically gospel. For an entrepreneur, expanding your social circle is a surefire way to increase the scope of your brand awareness, increase sales of products and services, and grow your business. Or is it?

It is, if you’re networking the right way.

Here are some basic dos and don’ts for the next time you’re organizing those new business cards from that networking cocktail soiree.

Do: Send a follow up email within 48 hours of meeting for the first time.  Offer to help your new contact in some way directly, or by connecting them to someone who can help them. Too often people only reach out when they need something. Be the exception. Focus on them. You’ll be more memorable and create a positive rapport immediately.

Don’t: Leave the new contact’s card in your wallet for 3 weeks, and then send them an email asking for a favour.

Do: Establish whether they use social networking sites for business before sending a Facebook friend request. Always include a message with your friend request, reminding the person who you are, where you met and why you’d like to connect.

Don’t: Send a friend request then write on their wall, “Hey grrrrl – hot pics! I want your life. Call me let’s talk business.  Muuah!”  Too much, too soon, too desperate.

Do:  Invite your new contacts to join your mailing list. Send them a personal email, explain your services, and sign up for their lists if they have one.  Create reciprocity.

Don’t: Start blasting your new contacts your unsolicited blog, monthly newsletter, or daily tidbit of wisdom. There’s no faster way to be relegated to the annoying, wish-I-never-met-her category.

Entrepreneurs understand that the most powerful form of advertising is word of mouth. You’re only as good as your reputation. Here’s to making that a positive one. Here’s to your success!

Walk Your Talk

Have you ever had a hairdresser with bad hair? A fitness trainer who’s out of shape? Chances are high that it left you questioning the quality of their services. Now, they may have been wonderful in their field; however, that’s beside the point. The issue is that they created doubt in your mind based on the discrepancy between their talk and their walk.

It all comes down to authenticity my friends. Your clients want to know and see that you mean what you say. What better way to show them than by living your values day in and out.

Too often entrepreneurs become so engrossed in their daily business activities; deadlines, meetings, servicing clients, etc. that they become a walking paradox. The stressed out Yoga teacher, the disorganized accountant, the fast-food eating nutritionist, the muu-muu wearing stylist (ok maybe that’s going too far, but you get the point): all these are examples of business owners who have lost touch with their core values. It can also be a sign that these entrepreneurs are suffering from burnout.

Chances are your decision to become an entrepreneur was fuelled by a passion. It’s that same passion that will carry you through the inevitable obstacles you’ll face in business. That passion is a key ingredient to your success and longevity. Here’s the key advice (drum roll please): Make time for your passion. Do not get so wrapped up in the day-to-day administration that you neglect to feed your fire. Remember why you chose this life. You will not only feel better for it, but you will instill greater confidence in your clients and customers.

Winning entrepreneurs are leaders. Leaders practice what they preach. They walk their talk, and the best leaders don’t just walk it, they strut it.