Networking events can be a great source of ideas for how to grow your business. In fact, they can offer you so many new ideas that you can’t keep up with them all. Here are five steps to help you make the most of business networking events.
The cool thing about having your own business is that you get to do whatever you want. You can create a new program if you want. You decide who you will work with and what services you will offer your clients. You decide what you’ll sell and how you want to promote your business. You dictate your marketing activities. You might choose to promote through Facebook, a new website, a contest, networking, attending events, or even some really cool idea that your cousin suggested.
The possibilities are endless. It’s exciting, it’s empowering, it’s overwhelming, it’s mind-numbing.
With all of the possibilities, how do you figure out what you’re going to do? How do you keep your eye on your goal and make sure you move down the path that you’ve decided to take?
Here’s what I do when I know I’m heading into a situation where I’m going to be bombarded (in a good way) with a lot of great ideas and opportunities. This system allows me to triage the ideas before I get attached to them, and helps me keep my focus on the direction that is right for me at the moment. I encourage you to give this system a try.
Step 1: Before heading into an event or situation that is likely going to produce many ideas (such as a marketing training or business growth event) take a few minutes to think about your overall goals for your business AND your overall goals for the event. For instance… the overall goal for your business may be revenue based; however, your goal for the event may be client or partnership leads. Keep the number of goals (especially for the event) limited to just one or two goals.
Step 2: Write your goals on separate sheets of paper in a notebook that you will bring with you (or separate pages in a document if you’re bringing a laptop). The goals should be very specific. How many clients or leads are you looking for? How much revenue do you plan to generate? What type of program do you want to create?
Step 3: Add one more page to your collection. Label it “Ideas that are super cool but do not track towards my goal.”
Step 4: As you meet people, sit in sessions, or are exposed to new opportunities, record the ideas based on which goal they will help you to achieve.
Step 5: This is the most important step because after the event is when the overwhelm often sets in. Review your notes one goal at a time and identify which two ideas are likely to give you the biggest push towards that specific goal. Then check to see if any of the ideas will help you track towards multiple goals. Finally, decide which idea (of the ones you’ve identified) will be the most enjoyable for you to do and focus your attention there.
The point of all of this is not to do everything. Focus your energy and attention on the ideas and strategies that are most likely to bring you the success you desire. Oh, in case you’re wondering what you should do with the sheet labeled Ideas that are super cool but do not track towards my goal, technically you don’t need them; however, I know it’s human nature to collect things. So go ahead and write them down, then make sure to give yourself permission to recognize them as good ideas that do not belong in your plan.
What goals are you tracking towards right now? What strategy are you going to embrace to help you meet that goal?