4 Never Fail Networking Tips
In business, as is true in life, networking is the glue that holds it all together. How many times have you thought about who you know or who introduced you to someone who opened doors of opportunities for your personal or professional ventures? There’s no question, life is a contact sport, and the more you play, the better you get. With that in mind, here are four of the best networking tips for keeping you and your small business out front where you need to be.
No. 1: Make It A Value Add
No one likes to waste time. In fact, with so many of us with so little of it, who has any to spare? When you do take a minute or two from someone, you’d better make it count. What does that mean? Well for starters, make every encounter a value add. Instead of taking a business card, ask for an email address. Now you have the right to contact that person and you have an open door for sending your information in something other than a small white card that will most likely be lost, tossed or forgotten. Strategic networking means finding those key opportunities to add value, on both sides.
No. 2: Learn The Art of Being Kind
We were all taught to be kind to others, yet so many of us forget life lessons as we age. Maybe your neighbor is a janitor at the local youth club. Before discounting this networking connection as irrelevant, think about the key people in your life and how they made an impact. Chances are they weren’t all CEO’s waiting for your handshake. Aside from being smart, it’s simply a good human quality to be gracious to all, despite what they can or cannot “do for you”. Besides, you never know who the gas station attendant is married to or who the deli clerk went to school with. Be kind, courteous and respectful to everyone you meet and you’ll be amazed at how many more opportunities you create.
No. 3: Ask Easy Questions And Listen
What to people enjoy doing most? If you said talking about themselves, you’re right. And that’s why asking easy questions and settling back to listen is such a neat trick. When you engage someone about themselves, whether it’s at a party, a conference or otherwise, the tendency is to be candid. You don’t need to do anything at all expect be a good listener to learn about their business, passions, hobbies, their connections, etc. The best way to engage is to simply ask a question and let them carry the conversation. You cannot learn while you are talking. It’s better to pass the baton, listen and take it all in.
No. 4: Smile
A smile is perhaps one of the easiest, yet most overlooked tools to great networking. When you smile, you instantly tear down barriers to communication, put people at ease and set the tone. A smile can turn almost anyone around, at least temporarily and is an ice breaker that never fails. Make certain to smile when entering a room, when meeting someone for the first time or anytime someone speaking to you looks uncomfortable. A smile is an effortless way to be inviting and put yourself and others at ease.
Networking is often the path to success. Who you meet along your journey, and more importantly, how you choose to engage that opportunity will decide how far along the road you go.
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The Power Of A Great Read: The Best Business Books Of 2013
Early in my professional career, my mentor, the late “Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones” said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read”. Great insight, and exactly why I think it’s important to call attention to terrific books when I come across them. In this post, I would like to ask my readers to contribute by sharing their favorite business books- the works that helped guide you in some way to be more effective as an entrepreneur- be it personal or professional. A great read is priceless if it helps define who you are and is an invaluable asset for inspiring, encouraging and entertaining.
Compliments of the Keen Thinker, here are the Best Business Books of 2013 from the 800-CEO-Read Business Book Awards. The categories are as follows: General Business, Leadership, Management, Sales & Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Personal Development, Innovation & Creativity and Finance & Economics.
General Business: The End of Competitive Advantage, Rita Gunther McGrath
Leadership: Playing to Win, A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin
Management: Joy Inc., Richard Sheridan
Innovation & Creativity: Unthink, Erik Wahl
Entrepreneurship & Small Business: Without Their Permission, Alexis Ohanian
Sales & Marketing: Unlabel, Marc Ecko
Personal Development: Springboard, Richard Shell
Finance & Economics: The Alchemists, Neil Irwin
Belief in the power of books is a conviction shared by many. As a tool and a resource, the right book is like a roadmap to success, helping us learn how to tap into our own potential for creating and growing a thriving business. Thanks to all of you for your great suggestions. Happy reading!
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Hey gals, there’s some great news out there for female business owners. According to the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, the United States ranked number one out of 17 countries for “conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship”. Awesome! That means if you haven’t quite made up your mind or you’re still waffling over a great idea, get going because the time is now. So what is it about female entrepreneurs beside access to the right environment that positions us for growth in 2014? While there are literally hundreds of differentiators, here are four of the most compelling.
No. 1: Superhero Networking Abilities Like Batman and his cape, chances are you’ve got the whole networking thing down pat. And that’s great, because the key to small business success in 2014 is definitely trending in the direction of collaboration. And that’s true at all levels, from crowd funding a start up to the shared economy, business owners are relying on others to help with everything from funding to marketing. And if social media is any measure of what’s to come, female business small business owners are positioned to be the superhero’s of the digital landscape.
No. 2: Cooperation Skills Most, if not all women business leaders recognize the value in knowing how to “play nice”. Sure, there will be outliers, but for the most part, cooperation skills and support are inherent. In fact, statistics show that women in leadership positions are more likely to lend a hand, share resources and do it in a way that drives action and results.
No. 3: Problem-Solving Acumen Gender diversity is a no-brainer when it comes to creative problem-solving. And for thinking outside the box, who better to lead the charge than a woman? Creativity spurs productivity and innovation increases growth. Women have a knack for coming up with solutions to solve all kinds of pressing issues. The truth is, many of us have been doing it for generations, we just called it something else.
No. 4: A Natural Holistic Approach More than cooperation or collaboration, female entrepreneurs have a different mindset when it comes to looking at the bigger picture. It’s often more holistic, concerned with all the moving parts, not just those that run the engine. At least for small business growth, the new measure of worth isn’t what you can do, but how we can do.
21st century leadership demands a different skill set. Savvy business owners recognize there’s a change taking shape and are responding by becoming more engaged and participating in the conversation. For women entrepreneurs, this is a good shift and a chance to maximize not only business acumen, but also, a few of those “soft skills” that seem to be critical for small business success.
Do you agree? For more thoughts or comments, please visit us on Twitter @momdaughterbiz or Facebook. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
With the holidays behind us, it’s time to get serious again and that means thinking about a business strategy for 2014. If last year was profitable, then forging ahead should be as easy as ramping up a few core initiatives for maximized results. If last year wasn’t as successful as you’d hoped, then you have your work cut out for you. But that’s okay too, because it all begins with a plan. Here’s how to keep your small business resolutions for the most profitable year yet.
Break Big Goals Into Small, Actionable Objectives
You’re not alone if you have lofty thoughts, and that’s a great thing. But do yourself a favor and break some of those stretch goals into smaller more manageable objectives. While it might not be unreasonable to project a twenty percent boost in sales, it may be easier to see progress if you look at it from another perspective. Instead of percentages, try to measure success by increased customer base. In other words, shoot for adding five new customers and concentrate your efforts on providing the best service possible to existing customers for continued growth.
Take Time To Reflect
Small business owners rarely have the time to step back and reflect, but it’s a good strategy for prioritizing, de-stressing and focusing efforts. A small break from the business doesn’t mean a trip to Vegas or a week on the beach, it means an hour or two throughout the day to grab a cup of coffee and read through a magazine. It means de-cluttering the brain and giving your brain a chance to unravel for the next wave of challenges. Besides, you’re more likely to come up with those moments of brilliance when you’ve had ample time to digest.
Stay Positive Despite the Outcome
Remember, no one is perfect and despite your best efforts, you will fail on occasion. The trick to success is to learn from mistakes, get back on the horse and try again. Yes, it sounds a bit utopian, but the truth is, staying positive is the key to getting through pretty much anything. And whatever this year has to bring, you’re better off if you meet it with a smile.
2014 has the possibility to be an exciting year for your business. Make sure to give yourself some action steps to see results, reflect when needed and always keep your smile. Visit us on Facebook and tell us how you plan on keeping your New Year’s resolution, we’d love to know.
Here we are at the end of another year. Where did the time go? Needless to say, for most small business owners, the year was filled with a few ups and some downs, but a lot of learning, living and maybe even some experimenting. Taking everything from 2013 into perspective, here’s how to have your best mother daughter business year yet in 2014.
Keep Your Eyes Wide Open…Embrace New Technology and Let it Help You
If you’ve been watching the internet and social media in particular explode over the past year, you’re not alone if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, frustrated and downright confused. The truth is, technology and emerging platforms move at the speed of light, and it’s a challenge to keep informed, savvy and “in the know”. For 2014, it’s critical to keep your eyes wide open when it comes to digital strategy, marketing and online opportunities. The fact is, more consumers are seeking information online than ever before and the percentage of people using mobile technology is only expected to grow in the coming months. It’s no longer enough to offer great products and stellar service. You need an online presence and a digital plan for your small business- and it has to be great.
Create Successful Habits…Tighten the Ship and Make Better Decisions
It’s been said that “we are what we do”. Perhaps, and habits die hard. But no one said we can’t replace stale, outdated habits with better, more improved ones. Transforming usual habits into successful strategies for growth isn’t easy. Our conditioned responses and unique ways of handling things come from years and years of living- and that’s fine. But we can always reflect on our behavior patterns and choose to change. The bottom line is, successful people have successful habits and unsuccessful people do not. It’s as simple as that. What are successful habits? Nurturing positive relationships, focusing our best efforts on what we love, staying healthy and fit physically and mentally, etc. Create successful habits and you’re small business is more likely to be a success.
Raise Your Expectations…Set Stretch Goals
Believe it or not, when you expect failure, you are more likely to get it. The good news is, the reverse is also true, and when you dream big, chances are better you will find what you’re looking for. In business, it’s called setting stretch goals, or raising your expectations to push yourself and your team further. By setting higher standards, raising the bar and expecting bigger, better outcomes, you’ll be more likely to achieve the level of success you’re looking for. Sure, it still takes tenacity, hard work and dedication, but adjusting your mindset to full speed ahead comes from raising your expectations and that is always a good thing.
With 2014 just a few days away, we all need to step back, reflect and think through a new and improved strategy for the upcoming year ahead. By embracing change and using new challenges to enhance our goals, transforming habits and raising the bar on expectations, we can position ourselves and our mother daughter businesses for the best year yet.
For more great tips, be sure to visit us on Twitter at @momdaughterbiz and on Facebook