CONNECTIONS: 7 Perfect ways to build your ‘CONNECTIONS’ in the new year.
Someone from the blog community asked the question- ‘Can I be successful in Nigeria without connections?’ We all know what this really suggests! She is really trying to understand if her business or career can progress based on merit!
The answer is simple: Why do you want to limit your business or career to merit only? Why not have both? Merit + Connections= EXTRAORDINARY
What is network/connection? We are referring here to a group of interconnected people. A network in its original definition doesn’t mean people who will favor you even if you do not deserve it. No! This is the wrong impression. Since this is now clarified, I’m sure you agree that building a strong network is crucial. After all, the human being is generally a social creature. This is why the family remains one of the most important foundations in the world. Even in the animal kingdom, many animals are known to move in groups!!!
How to maximize your network! It is not just important to build connections; you need to invest in them so you can withdraw from them when you need to. These are the ways to withdraw from your connections!
- Your network can be an immediate awareness channel for your goods and services.
- Your network can even be the 1st point of sales & consumption of your goods/services.
- Your network can be a source of funds- donations, loans, contributions, equity contribution.
- Your network can be a source of referral/reference for your business, career and services
- Your network can provide credibility to your work e.g. associations, certifications from network, endorsements and more!
- You can learn from your connections, you can get opportunities; you can even build your own profile.
How to build your CONNECTION:
- Attend events of like- minds. If you want to make connections with digital geniuses, attend many events related to digital progress. You will meet your peers but more importantly, you will meet industry leaders. These are people you will normally need to fill a form to see and even follow several protocols to get a glimpse of.
- Organize exhibitions at the right events. Yes, showcase your work at big conferences and events. You may not make a single sale but you will definitely gain connection with several other businesses. It is not enough to just exhibit, mingle and exchange ideas with other participants. This is the real benefit from public events.
- Seize the moment- I’ve personally walked up to a minister in a hotel lobby where I ran into him. Sometimes, you just need to take a chance! There is a chance of failure but who even wins without failing anyway! It is not enough to walk to people. The most important aspect is to have your ‘2 minutes’ introduction speech ready. Also, have your business card ready. Lastly, nobody wants to give a total stranger their phone number so you may just ask for contact details-let the person decide what exactly to give you. He/she may give you an email, website. Make sure you reach out to the person within a day when the person can still remember you. Don’t just send information about your-self; you can also share relevant articles or information with the person. Be a valuable contact.
- Join associations/professional bodies. These days, there are associations for everything. Don’t forget the Alumni bodies of your past institutions too!
- Volunteer: There are many worthy causes that don’t pay in cash but expose you to people with similar passion. There are several walks & soirees for charity, for fitness, for causes. Join them and you will be surprised who you just may walk side- by- side with!
- Help people! Yes! It’s the basic rule of nature. One good turn deserves another. Don’t be known as the person who only calls people when she needs something. Help others with referrals, share information, donate, and set up connections. Be the giver and you’ll be surprised how much you will receive.
- Attend events, shows, concerts, trade conferences, workshops that interest you. Bonus: Social media: This would have been a very weird list without this right? Indeed! Build your social capital. Join as many social media pages, groups as you can manage and don’t be an online ghost. Participate, write about your skills; create a brand website or online page. Put your-self out there! Stay in touch with your contacts and watch your business/career grow
Which of these is already working for you? Which of these will you start doing immediately? Let us know.
Good luck in 2016.
Picture credit: hothousesouthafrica