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How strong is your network?

Networking is a true necessity. I once heard someone say the strength of your network is shown by the number of introductions or referrals you can make. This resonated as it is a clear sign of how broad your network is when you have contacts belonging to different areas of business and industries, rather than just management accountant for example.
 
Now you might say I can’t network  because I don’t have enough authority in my company or I don’t know enough as a business owner to add any value, but here are three very important reasons why everyone should be networking no matter what field you work in or what position you are at. Networking can provide you with the opportunity for the chance to broaden and deepen your knowledge, provide faster career advancement, and also grow your current business. This can then result in greater status and authority due to the strength of your network, as well as improving the quality of work and job satisfaction.
 
Broaden and deepen your knowledge
Knowledge is power, especially in business. The more you know, the more you are able to network; and vice versa, the more you network, the more of an opportunity you have to expand your knowledge with the insights of other like-minded individuals.
 
Faster career advancement 
The possibility to advance within your company should always be on your mind. Likewise the thought of what could come next will motivate you to stay goal orientated resulting in you working optimally and increasing your value within the company. 
 
Grow your business 
If you’re an entrepreneur or founder you know that in today’s world owning a business is more than difficult due to the immense amount of competition. A great way to expand your business opportunities and grow your business is through networking. 68% of individuals in the workforce say they value face-to-face networking more than online communication. This means that your networking efforts have an intrinsic value towards building relationships and customers faster and stronger than your competitions.
 
Now this is all great for helping you to understand the importance of networking but all of this doesn’t mean a thing if you do not have a broad network. This doesn’t necessarily have to be hundreds of individuals in size, as valuable close knit relationships are what matters most. But as mentioned previously you don’t want all your contacts on LinkedIn to only be within Finance or involved in the hospitality industry. This doesn’t help you in the long run and surely will not help those in your network.
 
So here’s 4 questions you need to ask yourself when looking at the strength of your network.
  1. Who do you currently have in your network? can they currently provide opportunities with making a career move, job search, valuable introductions. If no then you may need to change where you are networking.
  2. How do you currently network? The power of the internet can sometimes make us lazy to get out there and socialise. But nothing builds relationships faster than face-to-face communication.
  3. What networking events are you attending? Don’t go to the same networking events all the time but try new ones. This will expose you to a different mix of people and open up opportunities. 
  4. How often are you in touch with the individuals in your network? You shouldn’t only contact them when you need a favour or an introduction. This doesn’t build your relationship. Keep in regular contact so that you know what is going on with them and vice versa. This will help with making the right introductions for them.
The take-away you should remember is that networking is about the number of introductions and referrals you can make. What you can do for the people in your network and not what they can do for you. This genuine and authentic mindset towards helping those around you will make networking easier and will benefit you in the long run.

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