Author Archives: Alex Yong

Networking Your Online Business (5)

Well, we have come to the final lesson in the Networking Your Online Business Crash Course. I hope you’ve enjoyed your lessons and learned a lot about networking. In this final lesson we’re going to go over a few common mistakes people make when they first start building their network, so you can avoid them.

As we discussed in your second lesson it’s very important to track your progress, so that you know whether you’re getting results or not. It’s also important to make sure you’re doing things right, so your business will grow.

However, knowing what to do is one thing; knowing what not to do is something else completely. You might even think you’re doing everything right, but if you find that you’re not making the connections you expected, then it’s time to re-evaluate and adjust your strategy. To help with this we’re going to go over some of the more common mistakes you can make, often without even realizing it. This way you can avoid them.

– Not accepting help

Networking is all about making connections and learning from our peers but when it comes to accepting help many of us find it difficult. Even if it’s simply in the form of advice. If this is you, try to keep in mind that people don’t know what you need unless you ask them.

The whole point of networking is to build a personal or professional network of people you can call on when you’re struggling to move forward. That’s why it’s so important to be connected to the right people.

– Not maintaining relationships

It’s very easy to fall out of touch with people, but if you want to form a strong network it’s important to maintain communication with your current contacts. As I mentioned in lesson three, you want to have at least five to ten strategic relationships that you’re always nurturing.

Set aside time in your schedule to follow up with them on a regular basis. See how they’re doing, offer aid if they need it and let them know how you’re doing too. This type of mutual accountability is one of the biggest benefits of networking. It’s a great motivator.

– Not using social media

We live in a time where networking is something that most of us do on some level every day. Social media makes it easy to connect to countless people all with diverse knowledge and skills to share. If you’re not taking advantage of this, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to grow.

If you aren’t sure where to start LinkedIn is a good choice for making professional connections. As I’m sure you know this isn’t the only social media platform you should be using, but it’s a great place to begin getting your business in front of the right people.

– Not making connections in-person

While we’re in a time where social media is very important to networking, that doesn’t mean you should stop meeting people in person. If you want your online business to really grow you should make a real effort spend time with your contacts in person whether it’s locally or at conferences. Remember, you can’t do everything over the internet.

– Not expressing gratitude

Showing gratitude is more than just a social grace. When someone helps you, gratitude goes a long way. After having a conversation with someone in person or online, send them a quick thank you note for their time. It’s a small thing, but letting people know they’re appreciated encourages them to want to build a stronger working relationship with you.

– Forgetting it’s a two-way street

The law of reciprocity is extremely important when it comes to building a strong network, so when someone helps you, no matter how big or small, always be sure to reciprocate in some way.

Hopefully this will help you avoid making some of these mistakes as you go out and start networking your online business. Remember it should be a scheduled activity to connect and follow up with the people in your network. Before long you’ll have a strong and very beneficial group of people in your corner that are more than willing to help your business grow.

 

 

Networking Your Online Business – 4

As we know, meeting new people and building a strong network is one of the best ways to grow your online business, but networking isn’t always easy for everyone. It can be challenging to find connections who share your interest both online and offline.

Chances are you won’t just casually bump into people who can help you grow your business on the street. Even if you attend all the right events, you’ll still have to try hard to meet the right people. Relationships with those people spur our creativity, help us land more clients and help us learn things we wouldn’t have learned on our own.

Fortunately, we live in a time where there is an app for everything, so if you’re having trouble networking in the more traditional ways, or just want to make the job a little easier, then you should check out some of the networking apps available.

Now keep in mind that there are new apps coming out all the time and as diligent as I was with my research for this lesson, I haven’t personally tried all of the ones I have listed below, but they all have good ratings and they will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect when it comes to using an app for networking.

– GroupMe

This app uses your location to detect where you are and connect you with the people in your area. You can then group people together and text the entire group to let them know about an upcoming event that they might be interested in attending, or other great things happening in your business.

– MeetMe

Have you ever tried to find a central location for you and your business associate to meet and came up empty? Well, iPhone has an app for that. MeetMe takes the hassle out of picking a place to meet. You can put in both your locations and it will generate a list of places you can meet in the middle. It will even give you and your contact directions to the selected location.

– Bizzabo

This one is best for networking with new people at conferences. It filters through lists of event attendees and helps you connect with relevant people. You can connect your LinkedIn account to the app and find out who in your contact list is attending events even before you register, pull up their profiles for quick access to their business info and add events to your calendar from in the app.

– NameKeeper

Are you terrible with names? Not the best problem to have when you’re in business and trying to build your network of connections. This app allows you to add names to your database quickly. When you do the current address is automatically suggested if you allow GPS access. You can also include a short description a photo and filter all your contacts by name, description or address.

– Happening

This is an iPhone app that will help you locate upcoming events in your area. Pick and choose however many of these events you’re interested in attending and add them right to your calendar.

– Meetup

This handy app allows you to explore and discover groups in your area that are all about the things that are important to you. You can also create your own Meetup and invite people from your community to come join the fun.

– CamCard

Have you ever been at a conference and received so many business cards that you can’t keep track of who’s who? This is another handy iPhone app that makes it easy to add all of the information from those cards to your contact list by snapping a quick picture. It makes it easy to exchange electronic business cards securely when you meet new contacts. You can also add notes, set reminders, and use tagging to make finding specific contacts a breeze.

– Shapr

This app quickly matches professionals in the same industries. It’s almost like Tinder for networking. It’s available for Android or iPhone and makes it easy to grow your network by screening a large database of shared contacts that match your criteria. You can swipe anonymously through profiles and when the interest is mutual, you’ll be matched, then you can arrange to meet.

These are just a few of the apps available for networking. There are many more that can help you make great connections, but they can’t do the networking for you. It’s your job to make that connection work for your business. Make sure that you take time to cultivate relationships with the people you meet, and your efforts will pay off.

 

Network Your Online Business

 

As we have been discussing in these lessons, networking is an important part of any business. You need to network if you want to grow. Just because you run your business strictly online doesn’t mean you have to miss out on local networking events because they can be very beneficial.

Many online business owners avoid local networking because they feel like it won’t work for them or they’re unsure how to get started. When in fact it can help you make more strategic connections in your community. It can also be a very enriching experience because it puts you in touch with people who understand what it’s like to run a business.

The best way to start is to go out into your community and meet people and other business owners, whether they are like yours or not. Contact your local chamber of commerce, often they’ll have a calendar of local events you can check into.

– Go to fundraisers

Remember, this isn’t the place to be selling your business, but you can definitely meet potential connections this way. Even just going out to the golf course or taking a crafting class is a great way to network and meet people with similar interests to you. It doesn’t have to be a business relationship when you network with people. Anyone who is going to spread the word about your business is part of your network.

– Check out your current contacts

You might already have people you can network with locally that will help you grow your business. They might already have a network that could be beneficial to growing your business too.

Here are a few more benefits for you to consider:

When you network locally, you’ll have more opportunities to explain what your business does, and you can specifically tailor your message to the people you’re speaking to. You’ll also enjoy immediate feedback on your ideas.

– It’s more personal

Face-to-face meetings are always going to be more personal and give you a better opportunity to show who you really are. It’s hard to see someone’s personality when you can’t actually see them or hear them. If you want your personality to shine, then you need to network locally.

You can learn so much about a person just by seeing their mannerisms. In person you can read body language, hear tone of voice, see facial expressions and pick up on feelings.

If all your meetings are done online through email or on social media, then you won’t get that direct feedback that you do when you’re face to face. Yes, Skype and video chats are effective but it’s still difficult to read the other person’s body language when you aren’t in the same room. This makes it very easy to misinterpret their intent.

– Stronger relationships

It’s always much harder to build a strong relationship with someone you’ve never met in person. There needs to be a human connection. It just builds a stronger bond. You can think a person is great when you meet them online, but to actually see them in action and be a part of their energy is a whole other story.

– Maintain relationships

Once you have taken the time to add a great contact to your network don’t lose track of them. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 5 to10 strategic relationships that you’re always nurturing. Make sure you interact with them regularly and that you’re bringing value to the relationship. A beneficial connection is one that serves both parties involved, so you’ll want to take time every so often to re-evaluate your network, your needs, and perhaps even the needs of the people you’ve formed a connection with.

If you find that someone isn’t bringing value or just isn’t a good fit for your business, then it might be time to shift your focus more towards contacts that will help your network grow. You don’t want to burn bridges in the process, but always be mindful of your objectives. Remember the goal is to build strategic relationships that will help your business grow.