|Chicago Book Expo 2000: Press Report #4|
"No one Tree Can Make a Forest!" No Success Can be Achieved Alone Without Networking
Principle of Effective Networking
Business networking is a process of connecting with other businesses of common interest to exchange ideas and information or collectively join in a business venture. The purpose of a networking system is to design an operation to benefit every member within the Internet. It is quite possible that everybody will not benefit all the time from certain operations, but it is crucially important that everybody must benefit from the group at a point and time. Ivan R. Misner in his latest book; Master of Networking stressed that successful people did not create themselves through magic, but through a sophisticated support network. He emphasized that people in the network developed a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone. Even John Naisbitt indicated that networking creates an attraction for the easiest way to share information.
The great value of networking affirms that no single person can do it alone when starting or promoting a small business. Here are the essential principles of effective networking:
Identify common grounds: Before joining any group for networking purposes, be sure the group shares a common interest with your objectives. This is one of the most important and sometimes difficult issue to tackle. However, it is important to study the group and its operation and how joining hands can achieve certain business objectives. Some networking systems are set up as an organization and only the elite part of the group tend to benefit while others derive no benefits. Just belonging to an association by name is not enough. Such association must outline the benefits to members before paying large membership fees. Most of the time, membership fee is not needed in a business networking system.
It is important to avoid a networking system that is designed to raise money to promote concealed ideas and objects contrary to mission statements. There are some networking system that are political and under the disguise of helping small businesses. Many people tend to fall for this because of their political beliefs. Manipulators thereby tap into people's prejudices against another party for the sake of raising money for concealed causes. Most successful networking do not need an association platform to operate. Many people have been deceived by associations or organizations that were supposed to benefit the members. Later members found out that such groups were designed by an individual or individuals with the ulterior motives of promoting their own personal business at the expense of the members. Association or the organization part should be designed later after the networking process has achieved its objective of benefiting the members.
Establish how to help individual members: A good networking system should identify and outline how to help individual members so that those people coming into the network will have a clear understanding of the operation of the network. The association should outline how the network will help the people.
Develop a connection pipeline: In the process of networking, a business connection pipe must be established. For example, members can link to each other's websites by links. One of the good aspects of Internet is to bring together groups or businesses of common interest. This is quite contrary to old ideas where a business does not want other businesses to benefit from their promotion. Today, it benefits every business to connect as long as they are not exactly selling the same thing. Even if they are both selling exactly the same thing, the fact that there are many choices for consumers will always bring them back to the same site.
Each member must contribute something: For a network system to work effectively, every member within the network must contribute something to the group. Deepak Chopra stated that the easiest way for anyone to get what they want is by helping others to get what they want. "Reward come by empowering others, not by climbing over them," said John Naisbitt.
Sharing services contributed by members of the group always help to reduce operational cost of individual businesses. For example, instead of one person advertising in the New York Times, it can be more affordable if all the members collectively advertise in the same newspaper. If an individual member is a graphic designer for example, such a service can be offered to members at a lower rate and a publisher can benefit from such offer as he in turn offers publication services to members at a lower cost. The golden rule of effective networking is to give something to the group so you too can receive something back in return.
Avoid the cardinal sins of networking: If networking is to work very well to benefit all members at a point and time, there are certain things to be avoided. Certain members will want to receive from everybody and not want to give anything back in return --- they are "free loaders," watch out for them. Such members should not be excluded from the group but from the business networking pipeline except if there is a legitimate reason such people are unable to contribute. Interpersonal conflicts should be avoided as much as possible in a networking system. When interpersonal conflict ensues it tends to disconnect the networking pipeline and if big enough, it may disrupt the group or break it into fragments. Avoid romantic involvement with members at the early part of membership. It may preclude people from taking you seriously. Remember, an ignition of a good romance may be helpful for business and in many situations facilitate networking, but a broken heart may not show up for a business meeting the following morning. The rule is to avoid romance all together because mixing business with pleasure can sometimes be good and may sometimes be disastrous.
Never join a networking system to attain fame or be comfortable rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Such intention is an adventure into disappointment except if such celebrities are there to network with the group. Just being a member of an elite group will never help your business, trust me. It is a time waster! You can carry the gold medal of this association on your forehead all day long, nothing will happen. The only way the business networking works is if everybody is contributing something to the network which can benefit group members. The type of group which fosters a caste system within the network tend to besiege the lower class with elitism arrogance - - - it is a very dehumanizing process!
Learn to avoid arrogant people if possible within a network. These are people who have attained a great success in life and totally forgot how they got there. They look down on those still struggling and sometimes want people to worship them. These type of people can be very disruptive to a networking system because arrogance of any kind is a very destructive poison to networking.
Setting up a personal network: If you are unable to find a network to help your business, you are better off if you set your own network and bring people into the group that will be of value to the networking system. The best networking system is designed to meet a specific purpose with all members working together to help others. Such networking system is much better attained online.
It is very essential that all networking members meet at least once in a year. Networking is a very effective way for minority owned businesses to thrive. Big businesses already know the value of networking and how to benefit members within the network. But the small businesses are just learning to network because many of them are still stuck with the old idea: "I can do it alone." Such a slogan is a recipe for failure. Learn to develop your own networking system today. Good luck! Please visit: www.smallbusinesses.com/bookstore.htm
Article by 'Yinka Vidal