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The Power of Intent Based Networking: A Crucial Tool for Entrepreneurs in a Constantly Evolving Online Landscape
You may have heard “intent based networking” in a different context, but I like to think that it is synonymous with another well used “strategic networking” for business leaders.
I think, though, I like the phrase “intent based networking” more because it demands that you enter into any situation with a clear goal in mind. In other words, we must be very strategic with our intent and why we cultivate certain business connections.
As an entrepreneur or business leader, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While skills, expertise, and vision are undoubtedly essential for success, the significance of strategic networking cannot be overstated. Building a diverse, robust network of professional contacts is instrumental in driving growth and innovation in any business arena.
But, most networking feels slimy, transactional and SUPER awkward. There is nothing stranger than just standing around a crew of strangers, collecting business cards, pressure to connect and refer, and never really feeling like you can get to know someone professionally.
While we love the idea of networking online, you simply can’t connect online in the same way you can offline.
So, how do brilliant business leaders make strategic connections, without the slime-fest? We’ve got a few tips. But first…
The Power of Business Connections
In the business landscape, relationships matter. They open doors, foster collaboration, generate opportunities, and offer fresh perspectives. Networking is essentially relationship-building in a professional context. These relationships can fuel business growth in several ways:
- Opportunity Creation: Networking often leads to business opportunities that wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise. Whether it’s partnerships, client leads, or investment possibilities, a diverse network can be a treasure trove of opportunities waiting to be explored. Many opportunities are never made publicly available. They are simply extended to those in the leader’s inner circle/network.
- Knowledge and Skill Exchange: Networking allows for the sharing of ideas and insights, fostering an environment of mutual growth and innovation. You can learn from the successes and failures of others, gaining wisdom without having to experience setbacks firsthand. You can adapt something from one industry to your own, revolutionizing the way things are done, and disrupting your market.
- Increased Visibility: Consistently interacting with a broad spectrum of professionals increases your visibility, enhancing your reputation and making your personal brand more recognizable.Additionally, in a world of online personal brands, who you are offline is absolutely critical!
Okay, now that we’ve established the benefits of building a strategic network for entrepreneurs and business leaders… let’s dive into how to do so without the awkwardness.
Crafting Your Intent Based Networking Strategy
While the advantages of networking are plentiful, the approach you take is equally as important. Here are a few tips to help you build a strong networking strategy:
- Set Clear Goals: Understand what you aim to achieve from networking. This could be gaining industry knowledge, finding potential partners, or locating investment opportunities. Clear goals will guide your networking activities and help you focus on the most beneficial relationships. It’s important to have goals around each event you attend, and the relationships you build.
- Give MORE Than You Take: The reason networking feels so slimy is that most people go into it with a really transactional mindset. They are looking to get referrals right away. This is a BIG NO from us! The best referral relationships come from those who have experienced your brilliance or your company’s ability to get results. When you build relationships by giving resources, referrals, and value to others, then it comes back to you exponentially. Instead of looking to GET from a relationship, look for ways to ADD to the relationship. This will pay off overtime, BIG time.
- Go to live, in-person events: If you want to build a strategic network, you’ve got to actually get out into the world and attend some events. There are plenty of local networking opportunities in most major cities, but if you want to be in the room with high-quality people, running at the highest levels, you are likely going to have to invest some money in getting into the right events, to make that happen. Think about attending events:
- Within in your industry to connect with others who could refer
- Outside of your industry, but in complementary industries
- With a diverse community of leaders from a variety of industries so you can connect with those who are potential clients AND be in rooms where innovation truly takes place (these are where the magic happens).
- Follow Up and Stay Connected: Networking isn’t a one-off task. It requires consistent effort. Regularly engage with your contacts, provide useful information, and show genuine interest in their work. This nurtures long-term, meaningful relationships.
Intent Based Networking: A Game-Changer for Entrepreneurs and Leaders
Networking is more than just a business buzzword—it’s a strategic tool that can propel your business towards unprecedented success. And… it doesn’t have to be weird and slimy and an in-person spam fest.
By building and maintaining a robust, diverse network, entrepreneurs and business leaders can leverage the power game-changing innovation, uncover hidden opportunities, and navigate their business journey with increased confidence and clarity.
So, as you continue your entrepreneurial journey, remember that strategic networking is not a mere option—it’s a necessity. Harness its power, and watch your business soar to new heights.
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