New networks – new surprises!
I was a BNI-er (Business Network International) from the age of 17. I’ll admit it; I was pretty set in my ways.
I thought there was no other option out there. I was quite young and keeping to just one network meant I didn’t need to try any others.
After my third year, having started Amethyst PA, I decided to leave this great network (which had been fantastic for the business) due to a category clash.
A year and a half later, I still hadn’t gone to a networking event, the only place I “networked” was social media and the occasional event that I was invited to. Strange that I had gone from a great networking group that met every week to nothing – it felt quite lonely if I’m honest!
I felt as if it was time to get back into the big bad world of networking.
All I can say is – phew! There’s a lot out there. I was often pleasantly surprised too, by several of the new ones I tried.
There were different structures to come to terms with, new people and new ideas and I loved it! I went on a bit of a networking rampage, being invited to sub here, visit there whilst putting in requests to go to new places.
I have found this can happen in your business too. You get caught up in something you love and go all out! I did however, have my trusty excel spread-sheets to hand, which confirmed and logged which of the networks provided the all important criteria I was looking for.
Monitor the results of networking
This included the people, the location and the time, as well as the business passed on and the data they gave us as attendees.
After a few months of a lot of networking, I slowed down to a few every couple of months to give myself the chance to build relationships and follow-up, the most important part of networking (as I am sure you know) and then I made my decision.
I decided to go for the support version of networking, in a group that has now sadly closed, but after 2 months of being a member, I had some amazing new contacts. Alongside one of the members, we have decided to continue it as our own network, which I am very excited about.
This is what trying new networking groups has done for me!
The moral of this story is that new is great! You may come to realise that what you’ve been doing for years is not helping you connect with the ‘right’ people or build the relationships you are seeking. But without trying you will never know.
It may seem a little scary to get into new places and do new things but making an informed decision that backs up your choice, is essential for you and your business.
This is the same as learning new skills, adding a new team member to your business (which I was very wary of for a year until I found my great team) or starting a business, which is probably the most scary and rewarding thing you’ve ever done. But like a lot of challenging things – they can give you so much!