When The Going Gets Tough – 3: Network
(Image used for illustrative purpose only)
All businesses go through their cycles of high and low demand. It is not always sunny. In business, there are rainy days too. And on some of the days it pours! Great entrepreneurs reserve their best for such stormy times. They cut their costs, they keep their teams motivated, they keep innovating. And they keep networking.
Business networking is more of a preventive solution than a curative therapy. Also, it makes more sense to leverage your network when the demand is on upswing. But the real worth of business networking is known when the chips are down.
Whether you are contributing to society through your local Rotary or Lions Club or playing a round of Rummy at your social club or a member of Chamber of Commerce, or BNI or Chambers in a 5-star hotel, you would meet new people every day. People from different businesses, regions and socio-cultural backgrounds. People who are smart as you are. Knowing them doesn’t cost anything extra except your time.
Imagine you having 1000 ‘friends’ who are successful in their own businesses. The referrals that they generate for you can be stunning. Let us take my own example, in last few years, I have created hundreds of friends through networking. They include those who can impact my business directly and those who are not. I am sure my name would pop up in their minds everytime words like IPO, PR or communications appear in discussions with others. For them, I am the best. Because they know my business. Because they are my friends now.
Also, I don’t need to bother too much in certain purchases. I just need to ‘phone a friend’ everytime I need cake, flowers, business coaching, holiday planning, flight ticket, AMC for my computers, ERP software, invest in stocks, have a dream home or a reliable pest control team.
Like all friendships, these also demand a bit of sacrifices. You need to help them in their businesses too. Give them this help during business upswings and also when the going is tough. It doesn’t cost anything to you. Construing such giving as a business investment is more logical. To these friends, your reputation as a giver and ease of accessing you is more important than many other things.
One of the greatest networkers that I have known is my friend Ravi. We are members of a networking Chapter, which has 56 such other chapters across Mumbai. All 56 chapters are fighting fiercely for a coveted cricket trophy currently. Our team had a match today early morning and the second match at 6 pm. Ravi was there in the morning and evening. And between these matches, Ravi attended the inauguration of his daughter’s (a physiotherapist) first clinic. And Ravi was fully aware that he may be at the bench for both these matches and not in the playing team! Lot to learn from you, Ravi.