Networking is an essential part of running a business and there are some amazing benefits that you can get simply by meeting new people. I don’t like meeting new people, but being in the District Bliss networking group, has really helped my business to grow. Thanks to this group, when I’m not around, my name is still being referred. As a result, I’ve seen my business grow without as much effort on my part (comparatively speaking). Learn what successful networking looks like and what it can do for your business.Support the show
Welcome to Strategy for Creatives: Business Minus the Bullshit. Whether you're new in business or find yourself in a season of change, get ready to build a strategy, create an action plan and crush those goals. I'm Sasha, host a strategy for creatives. And I help female led businesses grow their brands in authentic, measurable and meaningful ways, without the stress. There's no sugar coated here, I'm serving up real tips and actionable steps you can take to help get you organized, get off the path to burnout and grow your brand like a boss. So go ahead, pull up a chair, grab a notepad, and let's talk business. Hello, and welcome to a another episode of Strategy forCreatives:
Business Minus the Bullshit. I of course, I'm your host Sasha. And today, we are talking networking. Now if you know me in real life, you know that I am definitely an introvert, I do not like being around people. And I really, really don't like going to networking events. But when it comes to business networking is and should be a big piece of getting new clients and getting your business out there. Networking doesn't have to be a challenge. It doesn't have to be hard. But it's definitely really helpful with sharing knowledge, helping people find you, getting referred. And I've seen so much of my own business and so much of other people's businesses grow just from networking and getting around more people. I myself am a part of a networking group called District Bliss. I really like District Bliss. It helps me meet business owners and business women, especially all across the country. But it's really helped me form essentially a group of business besties, as I like to call them. I've met several of these women in real life, I joined pretty much right before COVID started and we went virtual, but I've met a lot of these women in real life. They've referred me to so many people. I've referred them to so many people,. I've worked with some of them personally. And the group itself offers amazing workshops and resources to not only help grow your business, but also networking socials, virtual networking socials, and hopefully soon in person networking socials, again, where you can meet other business owners who are on the same journey as you. When it comes to networking, though a lot of people don't really like to do it, especially if you're introverted like I am, and I completely get it. I don't like to meet new people, I don't like to have an elevator pitch and get people you know, talking about what we do. Naturally, most people do not like to talk about themselves. So it can be a challenge when it comes to networking and really getting your business out there. But it does help your business grow. And so today, I just wanted to talk about a couple of ways successful networking can help you and your business out. Number one, the biggest benefit that I've personally got up out of networking, and that I know a lot of people have gotten from networking is knowledge sharing. When it comes to meeting other business owners, networking and sharing and more importantly, hearing new ways of doing things is a huge benefit when it comes to networking and going to networking events. For that reason alone, it's a great way, it's a great reason to find a networking group that you can be a part of, it's a great way to get feedback and look at problems that you may be having from a completely different perspective, in most networking groups, including District Bliss. But in most networking groups and networking events that you attend, there are going to be people at all different business levels, people who are just starting out, people right in the middle in the thick of things and people who are very successful. And that means that there is someone there who has struggled, the same struggle that you are going through or have gone through. They've been in the same place where you have been they've moved past it maybe and now that they are more successful, or they've gotten successful in their business, and that means that they can be a great resource to help with your success. Those people can help you avoid some of the common mistakes that other business owners and maybe yourself are making or help you find alternative solutions to problems that you may be having. In my networking group and District Bliss. I've been able to bounce ideas off of people that are further along in their business journey than I am I've been able to come up with new ideas, generate solutions to problems that I didn't even think could be a solution and they really help just serve as someone who can I can bounce ideas off of. And so for that, that reason alone, the knowledge sharing piece that comes with networking, alone makes networking extremely important when it comes to business. Another thing that it can do and I kind of hinted on this is it can help you find new creative ideas. So when it comes to meeting new people and this is in any facet of life, but really when it comes to meeting new people They become a source of new perspectives, right? We all have different journeys that we are on, we are all approaching life, not even business, but life in a different way. And so having other people's perspectives put into our business mindset can help us create new ideas, can help generate creative ideas that are going to help us on our business journeys. You have networking groups that are filled with people looking to learn new strategies and share what they've done to grow. And it might be things they could be in a completely different industry than you are in, they can have a completely different clients have a completely different niche. But they might have done something in their business that you probably never have thought of to help grow your business. And I'll just use myself for an example. Obviously, I have this podcast, but I had, I have another podcast called Swirl and Sip Podcast. And one of the ways that my friend from District Bliss, one of the friends that I have in District Bliss, helped me think of a creative way to promote my knowledge when it comes to podcasting was to partner with her and do a whole podcasting collective. It was a 12 week course where we met once a week virtually. And I walked people through the journey of podcasting and everything from literally how to create an idea to distribution to getting your show out there. And it was meant to showcase literally all of the things that I knew, and learned from my own journey of podcasting where I was Googling things. I had no one to help me walk through this. So I had to, you know, look stuff up myself. But we didn't want other people to have to go through that. She's a podcast herself. She has several podcasts. So she was like, why don't we do this together, you can lead it and we'll help other people start their podcasting journey. And not only that, but it could help funnel into strategy. These people can go from being podcast podcasts, course takers, to going into your strategy sessions. And then you can help them work through either a podcast strategy or business strategy that's connected to their podcast. It was something that I had never even thought of doing. I hadn't, I had considered doing courses. I'm thinking actually about doing a course at some point in the future. But I didn't know what I wanted to do. What type of course would serve me and the people that I'm targeting most of my business and just that new perspective, that different idea helped frame a different way that I can reach people. And it actually sparked the idea to start this podcast, because it's another way that I can share ideas and strategies with people. So networking groups can really help you learn new strategies, hear what other people have done in their business. And it's a great way to help you come up with creative ideas, to solve your own problems in your business, or even seek out new ventures that you never even thought of. I've been to a couple of networking events where I met people whose businesses worked really well with my business. When I was in the stationery business, for example, I met a lot of wedding planners and getting to know these wedding planners getting to network with them at these events, I obviously put my business in the right people's hands, because wedding planners are the people who are booking stationery. They're the ones who are looking for stationery for their clients. And so it tremendously helped grow my business. And so the simple of finding new creative ideas is a great way a great reason why you should be networking. And what I just touched on the most. The reason why most people network is because it helps you build better business connections and get referrals. So on equivocally, I've been able to connect with amazing business woman across the country, simply by going to networking events and joining a networking group. But by engaging in this group, engaging in my connections regularly, it's a great way to build people and that like, know, trust factor, right? When we want people to use our services, we can't just sell to them. A lot of what builds businesses and make sales is having people like, know, and trust you. They have to like you as a person, they have to know what you offer, know your skill set know, know what it is you can bring to the table and then they have to trust you. They have to trust you with their money, they have to trust that you're going to do a good job with them and that you know what you're doing. And by having networking groups and going to the same, seeing the same people over and over again, having conversations with the same people. It's an easy way to build that like, know, trust factor with other business owners who can then help you and refer you to clients that may need your services. So it's a great way to nurture those relationships. So I don't know if most people know this but the majority of public figures regularly work with the same people that they have in their networks and it's because networks build trust. Networks are connections, they are a way to open doors for others and opportunities to build new partnerships with people and share what you do. I've gotten most of my business, a lot of my business has come from referrals. Whether when I was in the stationery industry, or right now, as a business strategist, most of my business has come from referrals from people who I've worked with personally, people who I've met in a networking group, it's a great way to grow your business and help others grow theirs. You will always hear people say that we need a seat at the table, especially if you are a woman of color. If you're a woman, a business owner of color. One of the ways to do that is to meet other business owners really get to know them, get to understand their business, get them to understand your business, and how you can help them, how you can help their potential clients. And then gradually over time, hopefully, these people will bring you a seat to their table. Your business, your name is probably spoken in rooms that you don't have access to right now. But the simple fact that someone in that room knows you mean that they can open a door for you. They can bring you into that room. And it's a simple matter of knowing the right people. My husband will always say it's not what you know, it's who you know. And that's true when it comes to business, who you know, gets you a lot of business opportunities. So the more people that know about your business, that know about what you do, you're going to have more opportunities. So I want to challenge you as we move into the new year, to figure out how you can network with other people in your niche, or even outside of your niche, but that correspond or relate to the business that you're in. I have a networking cheat sheet on my website, it's free, where you can use to nurture those relationships that you're meeting at these networking events. But I want to challenge you this is this is going to be your challenge in your tip for the day, I want to challenge you to meet someone in business that you don't know who maybe you see something in them that you like the way that they do business, maybe there's some sort of knowledge that they have that really attracts you to them, maybe you follow them on Instagram or on Facebook and and you really just are connected with their business. Reach out to them, reach out, ask them how they're doing, say that you will love to network with them, get to know them better. Listen more than you talk. Because that's how you build these relationships when it comes to networking, right. The best way to leverage any network in any networking event is to remember to go in it with a purpose. So when you're reaching out to these people, when you're making these connections, I want you to do two things that are going to help you network better are going to help you grow those relationships, and are going to help you push your business forward and open doors and get into rooms of places that you might not be able to get into now. Again, listen more than you talk, ask questions about someone's business, ask questions about someone in general. We all want to hear or feel like others want to hear about our lives, even though we don't want to talk about it. We don't want to bring up what we do. It's hard for us to bring up what we do, the things that we like, who we are, because it's not really seen as a good quality to talk about ourselves a lot. But if you're asking questions, and you seem like you're genuinely interested in a person and how they work and what their business is, people want to talk, then. They want to hear, they want to be able to tell their stories, if people are asking the right questions. So listen more than you talk. Practice your elevator pitch. I mentioned at the very beginning that the reason why we don't like networking events most of the time is because we have to have an elevator pitch. But elevator pitches really serve a purpose. I want you to think about what you're doing, who you're serving, and how you're helping and narrow it down to two to three sentences. Literally the time it takes to go from the first floor to the fifth floor - Can you get out and explain coherently and concisely what your business does, because if you can't, that means it's taking too long. And you might not know exactly what your business is doing or how it can help people. So practice that elevator pitch, practice learning and being okay with being able to rattle off what your business does. Because that's going to get people more interested in what you do. Practice, ask active listener listening, get to know others, get to know their business and their unique needs. Engage in a way with these people that you're meeting and that makes them feel supported makes them feel like it's okay to talk to you, that you're on their side, that you are genuinely interested in what their business does and how they help people and how you can help them help people and ask open ended questions. People don't really respond well and you're not going to get a lot of benefit out of asking yes or no questions. So ask open ended questions. How did they get started? What do they like most about their business? What is it that they like least about their business? How do they get most of their clients? Are there any tips or tricks that they can help you with? Or ways that you can think about your business and gradually build these relationships. So that way you are opening doors and you're allowing your business to grow in a way that eventually will make it easier because networking really does help our businesses grow. A lot of business comes from word of mouth, and the more people talking about your business, the more referrals, more clients that you're going to get. Make sure that you're practicing the art of follow up. Nobody wants to be bombarded with questions, and then never hear back from you. Because it comes off as very ingenuine, they know that you're just trying to play a game that you're just trying to use them to get a foot in the door. So make sure that you are genuinely following up with these people - ask how they're doing, shoot them a hey, you know, just wanted to see how your week was going. Hope business is going well. That makes people feel connected. And really business and making connections and networking is all about making those connections. Don't wait too long to reach out. Remind people who you are, how you met, something specific about the conversation you had such a solution or a problem that you have been struggling with, that's going to help jog their memory and it's going to help, it's going to make them remember who you are, and be excited about helping you along on your business journey. So that's going to be your challenge for this episode. I want you to reach out to at least one person, whether it's on Instagram, Facebook, somebody you know or admire in business that you have maybe met or seen in real life, but you've never actually interacted with. Figure out at least one person that you can reach out to and start building that connection and building that network of yours. Or consider joining a group like District Bliss. There's plenty of groups across the country, Facebook, you can do a Facebook search, you can do a Google search. There are plenty of networking groups cater to all sorts of different businesses. Like I said, the thing I like most about District Bliss is it's an array of industries. It's mostly business woman, but they do also have businessmen in the group. But it's women at all levels of business and all types of businesses. And it's really just a place where not only you can network, but you can also learn and grow. There's workshops every month, there's co working opportunities, it's a really great group, I'm going to keep promoting them. And don't worry, they did not sponsor this show. This is just genuinely how much I like them. But find a networking group. If you don't want to reach out to someone individually and you're more introverted, like I am, think of joining a networking group and prepare to be in situations that make you a little uncomfortable. That means you have to talk to people and you have to introduce yourself to people, it's okay, I get it. No one likes to do that if you're introverted, I don't like doing it either. But by putting myself outside of my comfort zone, and putting myself in these rooms with other people, it has helped my business tremendously. And I know it can do the same for yours. So let's practicing our networking going into the new year and reaching out to other business owners and helping that network grow so that you can help push your business forward. Are you ready to uplevel your business? Join the five day be your own CEO challenge. All the details are available on the website at www.by-sasha.com. If you liked what you heard, make sure you rate and review. It really helps other people find the show. And of course following subscribe on your favorite podcast platforms. Want to follow me on social? I'm on Instagram and Facebook at Strategy By Sasha. Make sure you tune in next Tuesday for more business tips.