How to expand your network exponentially within 6 months

August 24th, 2016 EDT | Business
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As they say, your NET WORTH is your NETWORK. As an entrepreneur, for your business to be booming, you must have the right people surrounding you and make sure as much people as possible know who you are and what you have to offer.

Now for this to happen, you must expand your network and get to know lots of people pretty quickly. I have heard countless times that “women have a hard time networking, they don’t like to mingle and attend cocktails”. I’m here to provide you with another way to build your network without having to run from one event to another with tons of business cards in your hands but no real relationship building at the end of it all.

 

How effectively are you using Linkedin? I’m assuming you have an active Linkedin account, right? If that is not the case yet and you are a business owner, please, stop everything you’re doing right now and go open an account.

Now that that’s done, are you being proactive by having a complete profile and a professional headshot? Go ahead and do that as well.

Ok assuming your profile is now perfect, we are ready to play. A lot of people make the mistake of adding TONS of random connections without ever reaching out to them to let them know why they would like to have them part of their network. Don’t be one of these people. Strategically add the right connections and let them know why you think they should be in your circle.

So who do you need to know to have your business booming? As a business and tax lawyer when I started my business, I knew I had to get in touch with accountants. So that’s what I did, I went on Linkedin and literally typed in “accountants” and similar keywords. I searched within the results and looked if we had people in common and if they were also active on Linkedin. Once I found my key potential connections, I sent a connection request and added a little message.

It can be as simple as “Hi, I recently launched my business and seeing what you do, I think we could have a few things in common. Is it okay if I add you in my professional network so we can get to know each other?”

Now that was the EASY part. Once they accept (hopefully they do!), you MUST reach out to them. They were kind enough to add you back so now you have to write a short message saying thank you and asking them if they would like to meet so you could discuss further and see how you could help each other out. If you’re not too comfortable asking for a meeting right away, ask for a phone call meeting.

Networking is all about “giving and receiving”. Go to that meeting knowing exactly what this person could gain from having you in their network, the rest will follow naturally. That’s the hardest part of the game.

Once you come through with the meeting and you kill it because you’re a #GirlBoss, you must keep in touch. That’s the most IMPORTANT step. Otherwise, all that time spent searching and emailing will be a complete waste of time.

Be aware that once you meet, it might not be a good fit with every single one of them but stepping out of your comfort zone and approaching complete strangers like this ALWAYS opens a door to more: more confidence, more opportunities and more learning experiences.

Networking effectively through Linkedin is not an excuse to skip all these cocktails. On the contrary, you’ll quickly notice that it’s a small world out there and that all these new connections you made go to the same events as you (since you had things in common in the beginning.) That’s when the REAL fun begins. You get to attend interesting events and you always run into someone you know from Linkedin and they, of course, happen to know other people at the event whom they introduce you to!

From my personal experience, let me tell you it works WONDERS. Several accountants I reached out to via Linkedin ended up becoming actual business partners and friends and now we happily help each other’s business grow.

True Girl Bosses don’t let fear get in the way of reaching out to people. Remember that no matter how many NO’s you get, the YES are what matters, they bring so many opportunities you can’t even imagine. 

If you need help coming up with that perfect introducing message or picking which people to contact, don’t hesitate to reach out to me (through Linkedin) so we can figure it all out together. Happy Networking!

Author
Anne-Edma Louis is the founder of Audax Avocats, a business and intellectual property law firm.

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