Build your tribe

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When I first set up my business, six years ago, I went to a speed networking event organised by Jersey Enterprise at the Hotel de France. The place was packed and it was great to  connect with so many people in such a short time. After this, I decided that networking was going to be the key to marketing myself and my business; I attended every event I possibly could. Jersey was the perfect place for networking, you could be at one event for breakfast, a second at lunch and third at dinner all in a single day if you wanted.

But what is networking? Is it about making a sales pitch or collecting the most business cards in the room? No, networking is about people; it’s about connecting with people and building relationships.

Have you heard about “givers gain?” It’s the principle that when people help others, they gain more out of the experience than the person they are helping. It’s based on the notion that generosity breeds generosity. People who are generous attract people who are also generous.

I believe that “givers” will “gain” for their efforts in many different ways. The person you help may connect you with someone who can help you or plug you into an opportunity that is just right for you and your businesses. Your generous act will enable someone else to be generous and, in turn, enables someone else to be generous. By acting generously you will establish a reputation as being someone who helps other people. People who are generous attract people who are also generous. These people are willing to share their network, their knowledge and their business, which can develop into new opportunities for you. You will feel awesome; nothing feels better than knowing you made a major impact on someone’s life.

Before going to a networking event, you have to be ready; you must have a good understanding of what you wish to get out of the event and how you are going to go about achieving this. You may think you’re really bad at marketing and hate to have to sell yourself and your services, so prepare yourself adequately. Being good at what you do is simply not enough, you need to be able to talk about yourself and what it is you do in a compelling way.

A couple of years ago, I attended a presentation from an inspirational speaker called Paul Dunn, who was very engaging, and he mentioned Simon Sinek in his speech. Simon is the author of the book called “Start With Why”, for me it was a revelation. I loved the most simplest, but most powerful model for inspirational leadership, which all started with “The Golden Circle” of human motivation. The most effective leaders know that the recipe for success is “why” you do what you do, “how” you do it and finally “what” you actually do.

Sounds simple, but what Sinek found is that most companies do their marketing backwards. They start with their “what” and then move to the “how” of what they do. Most of these companies neglect to even mention “why” they do what they do. Even more alarmingly, many of them don’t even know why they do what they do. One thing is for sure, people will do business with someone they trust. Use networking to connect, develop relationships and build a tribe around you.

View the full article in the Jersey Pages March Edition, delivered island wide.

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