Too often we only realize how important networking or “prospecting” is in the managment of our Company of 1 when we find ourselves unemployed or without a customer to serve. When our primary customer tells us that our services our no longer needed, we are told that our next great opportunity is going to come from someone we know, someone in our network that will be able to connect us to someone else who may have a “job”.
Understand that it is when you are already employed that you have the greatest opportunity to impact others in your network. Pay it forward is much more than a great quote…
If you operate as a Company of 1, you will realize that you should ALWAYS be prospecting, always networking, always contributing to your mission, so that when you need to dip into the well, the well is not dry. The worst time to start prospecting/networking is when you need something. You may be able to get some short term response, find some short term opportunity, but that will quickly go away and you will be left where so many others are, limited opportunities and a network that is sore need of oxygen.
Commit to taking on networking and prospecting NOW, when it is not critical to your survival, when you can do it in small increments, when it will mean the most to you personally, to further your mission and you will find that you will have a ready source of opportunity when you need it.
1. Determine the mission of your Company of 1. What are you about? What value are you delivering to the community?
2. How can you do this in a way that may or may not bring you advantage personally? What that means is how can you get involved? Is it volunteer work in your community? Is it joining and industry association to learn more, contribute to the conversation in your industry? Is it doing something you love as a hobby where others will gather? Your kids sports teams? Is it your church? Your neighborhood?
3. Commit to yourself that you will do something, every week, month, quarter that requires you to do something outside of your daily routine. Be known as someone who gives back…..
If you are in transition, or currently without a job, then this is the critical period of time to start networking, if you are in a position and unhappy, this is the critical period of time to start networking and keep networking and if you are in a position and happy, this is … yep you guessed it, the MOST CRITICAL time to start networking and keep networking. Because it is not about networking to take advantage of your network, it’s an opportunity to invest, to give back, so that should you find yourself without a place to be, you have a place to go….