Networking is the “in” thing for small through large businesses. For small businesses, it is actually crucial for success. There have been many articles and books written on what “to do” and what “not to do” when networking, as it is a science unto its self.
Networking is about meeting people, knowing their needs and finding ways to help them. It is not about promoting yourself or your business. The premise is that by helping others, it not only is a good thing to do but that opportunities will present themselves to you too. I often will do a cold call to a company that I am interested in knowing more about and admit during the call that I have no agenda other than that I am interested in knowing more about them and their business. Some amazing friends, business opportunities, and resources came from these actions.
Let’s demystify Networking and break it down to my definition of PIRO networking.
Introduce others to each other and yourself
Be a Resource for others and introduce resources to each other
Look for Opportunity for others and for yourself
So, let’s break PIRO down further to better understand each of its components for small businesses, startups and those in early growth.
Promoting others– is all about spreading the word of someone else’s business, a tel-seminar they may be putting on, or other event. Strategically, make sure the business or person you are promoting is one you would be proud to be associated with. By showing your commitment in promoting others, others will promote you.
Introducing your resources to others who may need them or who may be of interest can create amazing business and personal relationships for others and yourself. If you are going to introduce two people to each other, you would do so through first asking permission from both parties and get their contact information and any other information you feel would benefit the other party in the Meet & Greet you would do. Your Meet and Greet should show your personality, clearly describe you want each person to meet each other. Think of it as two mini bios and why you feel a Meet & Greet would benefit both of them.
Being a Resource for others is very important. You can share your resources to your network member by also share your resources with their resources. Others will do this with you and you’ll end up with many resources.
I’ve met so many amazing people and gained opportunities just from others introducing me to people I that probably would never have known of or spoken to, let alone end up doing a joint venture.
Opportunity is what we are all looking for but so often opportunities are right in front of us and we don’t see them or even if we do see them, we don’t take advantage of them.
Letting someone else know of an opportunity is important. Helping others by bringing a networker you like into awareness of an opportunity that they could benefit from is wonderful. Pass along opportunities, resources, tips/tricks, information and more and this will really show your network that you are a giver, that you believe strongly enough in yourself that they are not competitors but rather there is enough business for us all.
Many business owners find it hard to pass along information of an opportunity that they may also want, to others. The mentality is usually of viewing other businesses as competitors. In reality, if you are not going to take advantage of an opportunity and offer it to others, you will find that the universe will give you something.
Opportunity is also about doing joint ventures and collaborative efforts with your network. Without networking, you would know of fewer opportunities but also know of fewer people that you could partner with in some way where you both end up benefiting. In this case, one plus one does not equal two but rather much more in what can be accomplished and what is gained.
Follow these 4 PIRO steps in networking and many doors will open for you, you will meet amazing people that will become business associates or even friends, your business will expand, you will know of resources that you need, and you will help others.
Helping others first, without expecting anything in return, has proven to be a small business networking strategy that works.