How to create a networking plan

Acting without a plan is unlikely to get you where you want to go.

However a plan that isn’t linked to clear objectives is also most likely to fail. For many people a networking plan looks something like this… attend 2 networking events each week, make at least 5 new connections…

but which networking events should you attend and who do you want to connect with?

Discover the steps you need to take to achieve your networking goals.

2 minute read

    Let’s start with a question?

    Do you attend networking events because you want to find people to sell you things?

    Probably not. If you need something you are likely to ask your existing network or your social media connections who they recommend. Not go to a networking event on the off chance that you will happen to meet an appropriate supplier. Your chances of success are MUCH higher by doing a Google search.

    On the other hand most people think of networking as a strategy for “finding more clients”. Off they go to a networking event with a stack of business cards or brochures and their yellow pages ad stuck on their forehead in the form of their sixty second infomercial, looking for people to sell to.

    But if nobody is there to buy and everybody is there to sell (or at least with the hope of a sale in mind) what are the odds of a WIN WIN?

    Mmmmm….We don’t need to answer that do we?

    So let’s look at a different question.

    Who would you rather meet?

    1. A potential client OR
    2. A potential alliance partner who could connect you with tens, hundreds or even thousands of potential clients.

    Obviously the second. 

    For example if you are a naturopath and you are looking for more clients you might decide that a great source of leads would be health food shops. So one of your networking objectives would be to connect with the owners of health food shops in your local area, or the people who can introduce you to the owners of health food shops in your geographic area. You may meet potential clients along the way, but how much better to meet a lead source than a lead!  These are the people you want to meet at networking events.

    Not in the market for new clients right now?

    Even if you are not in the market for new clients right now you can still use your networking activities to connect with people who may be able to help you in other ways – and who you may be able to help.

    In my experience EVERY business goal, strategy or challenge can be achieved more quickly, easily, affordably or profitably with input from other people in some form or another, ranging from referral partners to mentors (and every business owner should have at least one mentor!).

    • Now go and review your business plan, goals and strategies for the coming year (you do have them don’t you?).
    • For each goal and strategy in your plan ask yourself the following question: Who (this could be a specific person or a category of business, industry or profession) could help me to achieve that goal or implement this strategy more quickly, easily, affordably, profitably and so on?

    Now write down a list of people (or professions) who may be able to help you.

    Once you’ve worked out WHO it is you want to connect with and why, you are 90% of the way towards creating your networking plan. The last step is working out where to connect with them.. with that question answered you have created your networking plan. Check out my next article where I answer the question “How to find the right networking groups for your business

    Until next time….

    Don’t sell hamburgers at networking events. Stop looking for clients and start looking for partners.

    Brenda Thomson

    Are you a business specialist, advisor or service provider?

    • Are you tired of the lucky dip of traditional networking events?
    • Would you like to be part of a community of experienced, quality business owners who want to do good things together?
    • Do you love connecting and collaborating with other business owners like you? (Because together you get stuff done.) 
    • Are belonging, results and impact ALL important to you?
    • Are your ideal clients small and medium businesses?
    • Do you share our core values of professional excellence, collaboration, contribution and integrity?
    • Do you want to help make the world a better place?

    If that's you - you're in the right place!

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