I think the word network is thrown around a lot. People and business owners especially, may not have the full grasp on what it actually means. I myself have joined a number of networking groups to see if there were contacts to be made that could be mutually beneficial. I met the carpet cleaner, the painter, the home builder, the retail shop owner, the video guy, the MLM/ network marketer guy, the insurance guy, the loan guy, the T-shirt guy, the advertising sales guy, the products promotion guy, the real estate guy and the list goes on for decades right?
If you’ve ever been to one you know what I’m talking about. You all get to stand up for 30-60 seconds and give your pitch then sit back down, eat your breakfast and listen to that week or month's chosen business expound on their business.
Now I don’t know about you but for me this was hardly ever beneficial. So basically, you are getting a business to business soft pitch that is most likely directed to unqualified or uninterested prospects. Maybe you know someone who might benefit from their services and you may, if you remember, refer them to that person. Reality is you’ll more than likely lose their business card among the other 25 in the little bag supplied by the printing guy. Besides you won’t remember the name of the person or company anyway so the point is moot.
I’m not saying networking groups are all bad, I'm saying they’re not very effective in their mission. They deal in “Small Think.” They basically operate under the assumption that just meeting people is the way to success. They think since you’re all business owners you can help each other better than the average person can. I’ve noticed it more or less becomes a place for businesses to share their miseries and struggles in complaint form instead of solution based. I’m not a fan of negativity so these groups bring me down.
Time is a great equalizer. We all have 24 hours in the day. Spending it wisely is critical to your success. So that hour in the networking group (plus travel to and from) can grind on my sense of productivity. I have to ask myself “Is this really moving my business forward?” I need true value from that time spent or I can’t invest in it and neither should you.
When I say your net worth is based on your network what I mean is you are what you surround yourself with. If you want to be massively successful you must be around others who already are or are becoming massively successful. Those people are on the same mission as you. Those people will have the contacts and resources to fuel your desires and goals.
If you’re in the carpet cleaning business and want to build a 100 million dollar franchise, going to these networking groups most likely is not going to do anything for that goal. You need to search out the ones who have made it. The Stanley Steamers or Service Masters right? Go where they go, meet them, do what they do. Believe it or not, those who made it and are extremely successful love to help the little guy who wants to be big. They see themselves in you and know what it takes to get there.
This is where your REAL network pays off. These are the people with contacts that can benefit you and can give you one small nugget of advice that can change the direction of your business and life. That is another thing you must be able to do. You have to listen carefully. Oftentimes you’ll hear the same things repeated but there will be that one thing that you haven’t heard before that puts the pieces together for you.
Go to the conferences and seminars they go to. Go to the charity events and fundraisers where the big hitters will be circulating. Be around people who understand they are never done learning and there’s always a better way. That is YOUR network. It’s a big world and there’s a ton of room for more business and expansion. Don’t think small. Get and stay around big hitters and soon you’ll be one too. That’s how you get your net worth to be based on your network.