Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of attending several chamber banquets. It’s been extremely enjoyable, but most importantly enlightening about the importance of networking. In my opinion, any event involving food is always a great way to ease the tension and allows a great exchange of conversation. Needless to say any opportunity to attend a function of this nature will lend itself to providing you meaningful contacts for your future success.
But for the last installment of this series, I want to talk about why moving outside of your immediate area may be the best way to get that next opportunity. Initially, when I started trying to get new business opportunities, I instantly expected that people in my local area would be responsive. After all, I was a resident and knew a great deal of people in town….Not really! I couldn’t really understand why people who had witnessed my positive work ethic first hand were not as receptive to me. I didn’t understand why others outside of my hometown were very open to extending me an opportunity effortlessly.
But the truth is your hometown, like your family, may not be able to see past what you’ve always typically done. It never ceases to amaze me how many people remember me from my former employer nearly 12 years ago. For that reason, it’s important to grow your network outside of your immediate territory. Amazingly, most of the opportunities that I’ve received have been from clients outside of my area. Initially, I was discouraged. But I kept pressing on. And I encourage you to do the same. With time, they will catch on. I have a great friend who has had that same experience. He wanted to do some things in the town that he lived in, but no one accepted the idea. However, after he took his ideas and created them successfully in another city. Some of the very local people he had asked to support his ideas initially, found out about what he’d done in another city and suddenly wanted him to do the same for the town. Unfortunately, some people aren’t leaders. But instead, fast followers. And that’s fine. But as for my friend, he’s grown to be that “someone to know” and his credibility has quickly strengthened.
And so will yours with time. The larger and stronger your connections, the greater your chances to secure your next golden opportunity. I have become a serial networker. I love the opportunity to network. My goal at each event is to identify two people who I generally think will be a great addition to my team and that I can be an asset to their team, as well. If you’re just starting out, your goal may be to just attend a networking event once a week.
As with anything, the more your do them the easier it becomes. So, I wish you great success and remember it really can be more about who you know!