Do you have any idea how much time, effort, and energy is wasted each week in the UK Networking scene?

I have seen so many people over the years just turn up for a coffee, enjoy a few biscuits and just make small talk with the same people that they had the same conversation at the last meeting.

Very few would go out on purpose to find people who could specifically develop their businesses and fill those capability gaps with the ultimate goal to provide their customers with more value and a better service.

So many companies (when at their start up stage) would limit their connected network and not really grasp the power of connecting with as many relevant people as possible. The quality of your network will directly correlate to the quality of Service or Products that you provide to your customers.

Unfortunately, as the years go on in any business, if you don’t regularly review your overall strategy and plan and ensure that your message is crisp and clear, you will run the danger of repeating yourself and not adding any “New Opportunities or Value ” to the people that you serve.

IF you want to have a successful business and you want to have an organisation that will grow and develop into the future, then you need to start building a network full of OQP (Only Quality People), whether that be individuals or organisations.

I can’t say that I have ever had a massive Network of connections, however the ones that I do have are dependable, trustworthy and also advocates of my company and brand. Pretty much the same way that I view their organisations.

Today, I am going to share with you three Innovate to Success Golden Nuggets that are going to help you and your business out, specifically to take with you to your next Networking event.

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Tip 1
Networking Basics

Business is about Strategy, you know, the “thinking” time that is so important. So rather than just turning up to the event, getting your cup of coffee, having a chat with a few people that you saw last month or last week, deliberately go to find out who is going to that event – beforehand.

Go on their websites and see if there are any organisations that you want to be aligned with. Identify and check to see if they can help you by fixing those capability gaps or make a connection with a potential customer.

When you arrive to the event, talk to the organiser, find out who is there and if your target connection has arrived yet. Make sure you get those introductions rather than spending three-quarters of your time wondering around talking to people who may be very pleasant, but won’t add value to your business and also won’t fill those gaps.

Once you’ve made that contact, make sure that you exchange business cards and get a meeting in a diary as soon as you can. Then you can have a more relevant conversation with them, and find out where they can help you, and where you can help them.

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Tip 2
Understand Your Capability Gaps

The second tip is all about understanding your capability gaps. This is where you need to refer to your Business Development Strategy. We refer to this to remind ourselves where we are driving the business with “What” products and services to serve “Who” our customers.

By regularly reviewing and measuring our strategy and plans, we know where our business is going and how we are going to get it there. What we need to do now is to fill the gaps with people and or companies that are going to provide you with these products and services.

However don’t forget that these must be QUALITY people.

How do we know if they will be a good fit? Ask someone. The one greatest thing about the internet and technology these days, is that it is so easy for us to leave recommendations and also negative review. People are keen to offer feedback because it is now so easy to do so.

So just ask around, find out what they’ve been doing, who they’ve been working with, what companies are they working with and find as many people as possible to verify their story.

This is really important if you want to make sure that you are getting QUALITY organisations, and QUALITY people that will help you and will complement your business, otherwise you will be putting your reputation and brand at risk.

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Tip 3
Align Your Growth Plans

The final one is making sure that we remind ourselves to strategically keep thinking about developing and growing your business. Businesses that stand still – generally perish!

We have just reviewed and understood your current capability gaps, but where do you want to take the business moving forward.

This may mean that in the future you plan to add a different product or service offering to your customers, which in turn will means that you will need different people in your team. We need to think ahead. This again is critical that you connect with people that align with your business development, strategy and your growth plans.

It is always good at this point to make sure you refresh your elevator pitch, just to make sure that you are crystal clear in your mind on your “New” company’s vision and mission, just so that you can explain it to other people.

One extra tip is to ask your existing connections to see if they know anyone who can help you with your growth plans. We don’t need to go all the way back to the beginning, in terms of Business Development, however it is good idea to have a refresh and map your customer journey out again, especially if you are bringing in new products or services.

The most important thing about networking is that EVERYBODY knows SOMEBODY and if they hear a good recommendation about you, and they hear good things about your organisation, guess what’s going to happen? They will recommend you moving forward to other people, even though you may not necessarily be doing business with them today.

As with everything when growing your IT/Tech Business its all about small steps and ensuring that you have a structured and connected Growth Plan.

At Innovate to Success we use our very own tried and tested Drive for Business Model to help you market your IT Business. This helps you understand the day by day steps that you need to take to sustainably grow your business and increase your profit margins. Check out my LinkedIn Introduction video on my profile to learn more about the model works and why we should connect on LinkedIn.

I hope you enjoyed this Blog and if you want more like this, then check out my other Business Development Related Content specifically for IT / Tech based Businesses. Alternately if you want to have a quick chat about how the Drive for Business Model can help you and your IT Business then click HERE to book a call.

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