Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.
Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.
Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.
Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.
Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.
By Stephanie Speisman. Stephanie is a Success Coach who coaches groups and individuals in business networking skills based on her booklet “99 Tips for Successful Business Networking.”
Memorize something everyday.
- Helping people has a ripple effect. If you help someone they will feel more obliged to help someone else, and so on. Pay it forward
- You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected
- Your relationship with that person will become stronger
- It’s the most fulfilling thing you can do on this planet. It not only feels amazing physically, you also feel like a good person
- You might be able to call in a favor later when you need some help
- Karma (if you believe in it)
- Because there are more people in this world than just you
by Jordan Lejuwaan
If you run a small business, it’s likely that you’re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it’s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.
Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do.
If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you’ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create – and stick to – a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order.
|Define and understand your risks
Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future.
“How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce?” Cho said. “Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you’ve mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc.”
Overestimate your expenses
If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. This means that often, you can’t predict when something is going to go over budget.
“Every project seems to have a one-time cost that was never anticipated,” said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. “It usually is that one unique extra item [that is] necessary to the job, but [was] not anticipated when bidding the job.”
For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you won’t be fully unprepared.
“I go by the cost-moon-stars theory,” he said. “If you think it will cost the moon, expect to pay the stars.”
Pay attention to your sales cycle
Many businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an “off-season,” you’ll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to think of ways to plan ahead for your next sales boom.
“There is much to be learned from your sales cycles,” he said. “Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. In order to keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways.”
Plan for large purchases carefully and early
Some large business expenses occur when you least expect them – a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a huge financial burden on your business.
“Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you’re operating within,” Cho told Business News Daily. “An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business.”
Remember that time is money, too
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time.
“Timing underestimation directly increases costs,” Ontra said. “For us, the biggest underestimation is allotting time for client feedback. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to meet a deadline with lots of people focused on a single task. Then, the client needs to give feedback for us to proceed. If the client is distracted with other issues, feedback planned for a three-day turnaround, can become a week or longer. Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project.”
Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done.
“If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday,” he said. “So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday and you are still a success.”
Constantly revisit your budget
Your budget will never be static or consistent – it will change and evolve along with your business, and you’ll need to keep adjusting it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances.
“Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make,” Cho said. “Take into account market trends from the previous year to help you determine what this year may look like. Once you have a clear understanding of your business’s budgetary needs, you can accurately forecast what can be set aside for an emergency fund or unexpected costs.”
By Nicole Fallon Taylor, Business News Daily Assistant Editor
On the long, hard road to starting and growing a business, it can be easy to want to give up. You need support along the way, not just from friends and loved ones, but from people who’ve been down the same road before. You need inspiration.
Below you’ll find quotes from some of the world’s legendary business leaders and entrepreneurs.
|“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas” – Leo Burnett, Founder, Leo Burnett Worldwide
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, “a faster horse”!” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford
“It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.” – Sara Blakely, Founder, Spanx
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and by falling over”. – Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
“You only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Founder, Dropbox
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. – Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft
“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change”. – Charles Darwin, Naturalist
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” – Arianna Huffington, Co-founder The Huffington Post
“There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business there.” – Colonel Sanders, Founder, KFC
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angel Ahrendts, Senior Vice President, Apple
“I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.” – Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop
“Train yourself to let go of the things your fear to lose.” – George Lucas, Founder, Lucasfilm, Ltd.
“The minute you start compromising for the sake of massaging somebody’s ego, that’s it, game over.” – Gordon Ramsay, Chef & Restauranteur
“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing. One that sounds good, and a real one.” – J.P. Morgan, Founder, J.P. Morgan & Co
“Neveer give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” – Jack Ma, Founder, Alibaba Group
“Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. After you become a leader, success is about growing others”. – Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric
“I only do what my gut tells me to. I think it’s smart to listen to other people’s advice, but at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can tell you what’s right for you.” – Jennifer Lopez, Entertainer & Producer
“A mistake is simply another way of doing things.” – Katharine Graham, Lead Publisher, The Washington Post
“When you innovate, you’ve go to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.” – Larry Ellison, founder, Oracle Corporation
|Being able to quickly and deeply form personal relationships is a critical element to sales success. To this end, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is considered one of the seminal self-help books that have provided valuable lessons for salespeople and sales management. Its teachings still resonate today, even 77 years after it was first published. Here is a list of 20 favorite sales motivational quotes and sales leadership quotes from the pages of Carnegie’s classic.|
|“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.”
“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
“I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.”
“Names are the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
“By fighting, you never get enough – but by yielding, you get more than you expected.”
“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”
“Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.”
“To be interesting, be interested.”
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”
“The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simply. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”
“Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment.”
“If some people are so hungry for a feeling of importance that they actually go insane to get it, imagine what miracle you and I can achieve by giving people honest appreciation this side of insanity.”
“The chronic kicker, even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener – a listener who will be silent while the irate fault-finder dilates like a king cobra and spews the poison out of his system.”
“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
“Winning friends begins with friendliness.”
“Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
|To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money – only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success. Read on to find out how.|
|1. Get Organized
To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day – as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.
2. Keep Detailed Records
3. Analyze Your Competition
4. Understand the Risks and Rewards
5. Be Creative
6. Stay Focused
7. Prepare to Make Sacrifices
8. Provide Great Service
9. Be Consistent
What’s the secret to building customer loyalty? According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, many companies focus on making loyalty a strategic priority but fail to gain traction. The reason is simple. Their policies and processes don’t focus on making an emotional connection with their customers.
When you consider that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend a product to others and return to make another purchase – finding a way to delight customers on an emotional level can be as important as the product you sell.
Customer Loyalty to the Moon and Back
The most persuasive case study on the subject, of course, is Disney, which achieves an amazing 70% return rate in customer visits, according to the Disney Institute’s book on the subject. And it’s all due to Walt Disney’s original promise to create happiness through “magical” experiences.
Those magical results are not based on Disney’s access to magic carpets and the like, but start with the company’s Seven Services Guidelines:
When Tone Trumps Procedure
According to the Disney Institute, there are four keys to delighting customers:
The tone of their answer is also important, especially when trying to figure out what the guest is really trying to ask. When guests ask “When will the three o’clock parade start?” the answer is never a tired or sarcastic “at three o’clock.” When a guest asks a question like this, they generally want to know when the parade will pass by their current location. So Disney staff offer proactive advice on when to expect the parade and where to stand to get the best view.
To create a magical experience for customers, it’s also important to stay current with customer-pleasing technology. For Disney, this means using MagicBands that allow guests to gain access to everything from their hotel rooms to rides and attractions.
But companies can never rely on technology alone. “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic,” former Walt Disney World® EVP Lee Cockerell said.
A magical customer experience doesn’t have to be limited to the “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Your team can be the reason customers are raving about your company to their friends and family, as long as you’re willing to make customer loyalty and experience a priority.
The path to success isn’t always straight.
There are often bumps and turns and forks in the road.
But a little bit of guidance can help you find your way.
In fact, many of the most successful leaders are where they are today because they took advice from people they trusted!
Here are a few tips that executives have shared.
|Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway board of directors member Thomas Murphy told him:
“Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow – you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow.”
From a 2010 interview with Yahoo!
Marissa Mayer, president and CEO, Yahoo!
“My friend Andre said to me, ‘You know, Marissa, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to pick the right choice, and I’ve gotta be honest: That’s not what I see here. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great.’ I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten.”
From a 2011 interview with the Social Times
Terry J. Lundgren, CEO, Macy’s
Gene Ross, the man who recruited Lundgren at Bullock, told him:
“You’re not going to do this forever. There’s a finite amount of time you’re going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. And if you do this really, really well, everybody will see that, and they’ll move you onto the next thing. And you do that well, and then you’ll move.”
From a 2009 interview with The New York Times
Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
His boss at Goldman during the 1980s told him:
“First, it’s good to solicit your people’s opinions before you give them yours. And second, your people will be very influenced by how you carry yourself under stress.”
From a 2009 interview with CNNMoney
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google
“Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.”
Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO, Likeable Local
Several weeks into his first job as a salesperson for Radio Disney – where he was “failing miserably,” Kerpen’s mentor Peggy Iafrate said:
“How well are you listening to what your prospects have to say? How many questions are you asking them to better understand them? How are you showing them that you care about them more than you care about selling them?
“Remember this one thing: Shut up and listen.”
From a 2014 LinkedIn post
Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief, The Huffington Post
“Whenever I’d complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: ‘Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie.’
“We don’t have to wait until we move or change jobs to change our lives. Nor do we have to wait for large-scale, upstream change. We can initiate change right now. There are endless starting points.”
From a 2014 LinkedIn post
When Airbnb was going through Paul Graham’s Y Combinator program, the legendary programmer and startup mentor told Chesky:
“Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.”
From a 2013 interview with Pando Daily
Richard Parsons, former chairman, Citigroup
APSteve Ross, the former CEO of Time Warner, told him:
“Just remember, it’s a small business and a long life. You’re going to see all these people again.”
From the 2008 HACR Roundtable
Mohamed El-Erian, former CEO, PIMCO
“I remember asking my father, ‘Why do we need four newspapers?’ He said to me, ‘Unless you read different points of view, your mind will eventually close, and you’ll become a prisoner to a certain point of view that you’ll never question.'”
From a 2009 interview with CNN Money
In a fast-moving world with short time (and attention) spans, time management is still an issue. If we were to receive an updated version of the Ten Commandments focused on time management,
what might they look like?
In the ancient world, people took longer-time horizons.
It took about 20 years to build a pyramid. Rome wasn’t built in a day. In fact, it’s estimated to have taken 1,000 years to reach its height of glory.
But today we live in a period of compressed time spans.
The average TV commercial is 30 seconds. Typical smartphone users check their phones 150 times a day. In all this immediacy, time management is still an issue.
If we were to receive an updated version of the Ten Commandments focused on Time Management, what might they look like?
1. Thou Shalt Not Multitask
Multitasking is one of the great myths of the twentieth century. You can do a few things well, or a lot of things badly. Do one thing at a time.
2. Thou Shalt Not Confuse Immediate With Important
Ringing telephones and other interruptions stop you from getting work done that really matters. When someone gets you to stop working on your project to address theirs, they are managing your time.
3. Thou Shalt Not Dive into Office Intrigue
Yes, you need to know what is going on, but reorganizations or rumors occur frequently. Just keep a low profile and wait for the storm to pass. Gossip can be delicious but time consuming – and meanwhile, productivity suffers.
4. Remember the Weekends are For Relaxing
When you own your own business, it’s tempting to throw yourself into work 24/7. But your batteries need to recharge. Plus, the human mind is complex. It often gets its best work ideas when doing something unrelated to work.
5. Honor the Concept of Prioritization
Effective people build an action plan for the next day before they leave the office the previous evening. Often we list more projects than it’s possible to accomplish.
6. Thou Shalt Not Kill the Messenger
You work with others. Some are peers, others specialists or direct reports. Treating them well encourages them to speak frankly and make an extra effort to get the job done.
7. Thou Shalt Not Lose Focus
Certain projects are high priorities. Your compensation is based on reaching certain goals, your bonus on exceeding them. These ring the cash register.
8. Thou Shalt Not Let Time Be Stolen
People don’t arrive for meetings on time. Conference calls get delayed. Often we sit around and wait. Lost time is stolen and cannot be recovered.
9. Thou Shalt Not Get Discouraged
Big goals can seem insurmountable, especially early in the year. To hit a big goal, you need to hit a lot of little goals.
10. Thou Shalt Keep Score
Always know where you stand. It’s tempting to rely on the firm’s reporting, which often records revenue, not the necessary effort to get there. Develop your own tracking.
There are no new ideas in time management. The occasional refresher helps a lot.
Bryce Sanders,President of Perceptive Business Solutions
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