How many people do you know and more importantly, how many people know you? Actively and effectively building business connections will have a positive impact on your career whether you’re a new or seasoned business professional.
Your next job, promotion or business deal could be directly connected to the strength of your network. Experts in the business industry report that over 70 percent of jobs are never advertised. If you, or someone you know, are one of the thousands of people within our region, who are actively seeking work, then networking with Buffalo Niagara’s 360 Program should be at the top of your list of strategies to enhance your career opportunities.
Make a Plan. In your quest to increase your networking opportunities, determine first what it is that you want to achieve. Take time to visualize your desired outcome. Are you searching for a business partner, looking to hire an ideal candidate or simply wanting to increase your community awareness? Taking some time to understand what it is you want and knowing what you’re passionate about, will help you stay focused on achieving your goals.
Find a regular place to network. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a great place to start with dozens of opportunities to learn about various industries and businesses throughout the region, while attending anyone of the dozens of events offered to our members year-round. To find the best fit for you, narrow your focus and find networking groups that will help you meet both your personal and professional needs. Talk to friends, co-workers and business contacts to learn about the best places to network. Get involved with organizations like the Buffalo Niagara Partnerhsip or the Canisius Women’s Business Center; state or local industries or trade associations and service-based organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis or the Lions Club.
Set your goals. Plan monthly targets like “Happy Hour-for-a Cause” or the Medaille “Business Leadership Series” to get involved and make new connections. Work on nurturing existing personal and business relationships. For every one-or two-hour business event you attend, like a luncheon or networking reception, plan to meet five to 10 new people. Focus on spending no more than 10 minutes with each new person you meet and limit the time you spend with your friends and co-workers. Focus on building mutually beneficial relationships by not always trying to satisfy your own networking goals, but by helping others to accomplish theirs first. Look for ways to help others and they will look for opportunities to help you too.
Give back to the community. Once you’ve found a great place to network, get out into the community and find a place to volunteer. Giving your time and attention to community organizations is one of the best ways to network. In the process of providing your time and talents to different groups or organizations like the one’s listed on our Volunteer Page, you will demonstrate your abilities and learn new skills. Volunteering will give you the opportunity to develop relationships with people outside of your office, while meeting business and community leaders connected to the organization.
Build on your network. Building mutually beneficial relationships and forming business connections is a long-term strategy that often produces immediate results. Start today, build a plan and get ready to enrich your life through the habit of effective networking, because the world rewards those who have started and continue to effectively develop, a strong network of business connections.