Tag Archives: business

5 Development Tips for Young Professionals

Experience and proficiency in networking can only be gained by actually getting out there and doing it. That being said, there are ways for young professionals to prepare themselves for the world of business development. Successful networking is like anything else you have ever done. In order to get better you have to set goals, monitor your results and refine your techniques to get better.

Utilize these tips in order to build confidence that you are going about things the right way in your initial forays into networking and business development.

Form Relationships
Strong networkers have a mindset that focuses on what they can do for someone else more than thinking what that person can do for you. By keeping with this thought process, you become posed as a valuable and reliable contact. Do not approach people with the idea that “I’m here for this, and looking for that.” It is not so much about acquiring clients as much as it is about building relationships. Meet people with a genuine approach of helping them find what they need. This altruistic nature will resonate with everyone you meet and make them more likely to try and help you get business.

Strategic Partnership
Identify the handful of individuals in the room responsible for the event and introduce yourself. Forming relationships with these people and informing them of your interests will give you the inside track to other networking events and the numerous contacts within them. Another avenue that can prove extremely beneficial, is finding a strong networker to show you the ropes and expand your secondary network tenfold.

Effective Communication
Be specific in your communication and avoid generalities. If you say your clients are small businesses, the person you are talking to probably knows a lot of small businesses and may not know where to start in connecting you with one. Think of an industry or vertical you have multiple clients in, or a vertical you are looking to expand when explaining what your target market is. An example of this could be, “We work with many small businesses, but currently we are expanding our reach in the medical industry, specifically we are noticing an underserved market in dental offices. If you know of any dentists or other companies that work with dentists that would benefit from a service we provide, that would be a great connection for me.” Now they are going to think specifically and you have given them a definition of a good connection; this should help increase the probabilities of them actually making a connection for you.

Stay Polished
Staying polished goes beyond dressing the part; cross all t’s and dot all i’s, be polite and interested during networking events despite having a long day or anticipating an arduous business meeting. As a young professional or recent grad, it is important to make sure you stay polished in every sense of the phrase. While businessmen and women recognize that you are new to the game, it can still be difficult to overcome a poor first impression. You are casting a large net and growing your network, the more people who see you in a positive light, the stronger your chances of building your contact list.

Follow Up
When beginning to network you will start to pass around your card, and likewise, take any card given to you. Meeting and greeting this many individuals can become overwhelming, but take a step up into the big leagues by making a point to remember specifics about the good conversations you had. When you have a few key contacts that you want to stay in touch with, show initiative. Never assume a contact will reach out to you. Be proactive and take the first step. Calling or emailing people with a personal note about your conversation is a great way to get out there in a positive way.

How to Network Like a Pro

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Raymond Chandler

Networking effectively is one of the most powerful tools for professionals. Often overlooked and extremely underestimated, networking creates and cultivates relationships with the people necessary for business growth. Most professionals understand the basic points of networking, to bring plenty of business cards, dress for the occasion and portray confidence, to name a few. Here we will delve into some of the finer points that are crucial to creating strong referral partners.

Everything you needed to learn about networking we learned on the first day of kindergarten, Help and Share, the people that are successful networkers understand the concept of assistance and collaboration.

Start Small:
Anything new requires practice and experience. In the case of networking, there are many ways to start small before accelerating up to the big leagues. Being comfortable with yourself, your mission and needs will aid in building a strong presence in the networking community.

Start by networking online; social media platforms such as LinkedIn are great to gauge your current professional connections while expanding past your immediate network into other relevant networks and groups.

Meeting a group of new people can be daunting. Tag along with a co-worker to a networking event. Once you have met a few people and attended a few events, start going on your own. Many times the people you meeting during these events will be a part of or know of other networking groups. This is a great opportunity to be a guest of your new connection to a networking event, all the while diversifying your own network.

Make Time:
Networking is like exercising (for most, that is). At times it can loom as an obligation, something you may even dread having to do. However, once it is over, you feel much better and a little more accomplished at the end of the day. Once you have a few networking events under your belt, it will become something you look forward to and anticipate. Don’t make excuses or put it off, make time for networking, as it will result in a large payoff to your business.

Network Proactively, Not Reactively:
Consistency is the key with networking. One event will not build you a pipeline of connections, it takes time and effort as does anything else. Think of it this way; you are seeking to not only build a network, but find trust in other professionals. Before you can ask for a favor or a referral, trust must be built.

Many underestimate the purpose of networking, often reactively networking opposed to proactively. If you have found yourself in a professional or business related rut, you will have the connections and network to optimize your options. Whereas those who have underestimated the importance of networking consistently, will not have these options or connections to their aid.

Diversify Your Network:
Knowing the right people and attaining the right connections can get you places you may not be able to reach otherwise. Go outside of your usual networking group; there is just as much power in a diverse network as there is in a large network. Don’t pigeonhole your network to only like-minded individuals in your industry.

Diversifying to a broader network will be beneficial in multiple ways. By opening up to individuals outside of your industry, you can become someone who others will want to network with. As your network expands, you will be able to create connections between people, which becomes a major value add for those around you. As you prove your worth, people will begin to refer you business. So, although there may not be instant gratification in expanding your network, the long term payback will prove well worth the effort.

Build Relationships with Competitors:
Most businesses have competitors who offer similar services that are not quite the same. When this is the case, it can be great for business to build trust and a direct connection with those similar companies. This established connection can be fruitful for both parties as oftentimes potential clients land just outside your range of services but could fall into your counterpart’s. When both leaders become comfortable referring each other, everyone’s business increases.

How Strong Is Your Company’s “Operating System?”

The device on which you’re reading this has an operating system in it – the most foundational layer of things the computer must be able to do in order to work at all. As a user, you spend very little time actually touching it, yet that foundational layer is what determines how well the machine works.
The same is true in your company. There’s a set of things you do that creates the foundation for everything else that happens in your company, although if you’re like most business owners, you may not be aware of it. Yet more than anything else, the strength of your “business operating system” will determine how well your company does and whether you get what you want from it.
There’s a foundational layer of things every company deals with because you can’t have a company and NOT deal with them. These are the true basics – figuring who we are, why we’re here, where we’re going, and how we intend to get there. Figuring out who is going to get us there, how to know if we’re getting there or not, and how to deal with all the issues that arise when we find out we’re not getting there. Figuring out how to prioritize, to set goals, to stay focused on them and achieve them. Even something as basic as figuring out how often teams should meet and how to run meetings so that they produce results.
Like the OS in your computer, you probably spend very little time directly touching the components of your “business operating system.” And yet – again, just like your computer’s OS – these foundational capabilities turn out to determine both how and how well your business runs. Time after time, we’ve seen that when companies get really strong at these components, the business does better. It’s like taking Windows Vista out of your business and replacing it with Windows 7 or MacOS. The machine just plain runs better.
Ironically, these capabilities are so basic that the world of business and leadership education seems to take for granted that we all know how to be good at them. We don’t, simply because no one ever teaches how. If you’re like most business leaders, you could probably be doing these foundational things better than you are, and getting more of what you want from your business as a result.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be a mystery. If you’d like to get more from your business, we can show you how to systematically and predictably strengthen the components of your company’s operating system. It will get you there.
Dan Wallace has nearly 25 years of experience helping companies create and realize value. He has worked with both mature and early-stage companies in more than 40 consumer and B-to-B sectors, both as an advisor and as a C-level executive. His experience as a strategy consultant, operating executive and investment banker gives him a unique perspective and the ability to identify opportunities, create and implement plans to pursue them, and turn the results into shareholder value. Contact Dan directly: dan@twdgrp.com.