Networking Obstacles

Networking Obstacles

Chi Chi Okezie – May 2017

Networking is definitely a key component to career, business or academic success. Being able to overcome common obstacles takes focus, skill and dedication. Savvy networkers can be efficient and effective in their endeavors when they are able to make good decisions.

Listed below are helpful tips for maneuvering through common networking challenges.


Pick and Choose

There are instances when you have two or more events scheduled for the same time. It is impossible to attend them all, thus you have to choose an event. It can be difficult especially if there are opportunities which can arise from one or more events. How do you select the right event to attend? A good suggestion, is to contact the organizer of the event and ask if the event is re-occurring. If the event will take place in the following months then plan to attend at a later time. Another idea is to ask the organizer or host who will be attending. If the guest list matches up with your potential customers, clients or partners then opt to attend that event. Also, check the agenda or program, if possible. Will there be a notable speaker? Will there be a good presentation? By answering these questions, it can give you insight as to how to make the proper decision.


Time Management

Another great way to scale your networking is to attend functions which are relevant to your goals. Do not attend an event just because you do not have a prior commitment or can afford to make an appearance. Go to a function because you believe it has quality and adds value to your networking advancement. You can also pick events that can benefit others in your networks and expose them to similar opportunities. Definitely take the time to evaluate your processes and make proper use of your time.

Use these tips and suggestions to effectively make connections and grow your networks. Find the value and importance of attending the right events and being success in your endeavors.

Is Building Relationships Important In Business?

Building Relationships

Is Building Relationships Important In Business?

Marc-Eddy Drouinaud Jr – 5 May 2017

You cannot do business alone. You need people around you to help you. Therefore, building relationships with people and sustaining them is very important. This is a fact in business. This article attempts to throw light on the art of building relationships.


Building Relationships

Become genuinely interested in other people:

This is golden rule to follow in building relationships. As an employer, inquiring about the well-being of others without having any kind of selfish motive can go a long way in cementing relationships. People will find this trait of you being genuinely interested in them as very endearing. A businessperson can close many deals by evincing a genuine interest in the client rather than extolling the benefits of his or her products or services.

Give the credit where it is due:

Business is teamwork. The hallmark of a great leader is that he or she should appreciate teamwork and give the credit for any success to the team. In this way, he can ensure the loyalty of the team members towards the company. When you have loyal employees, your business’s profits can sky-rocket.

Never criticize anybody especially in front of others:

Your employees are human too. They can make mistakes. Some of the mistakes can be detrimental to the interests of the company. If the intention of the employee is not suspect, it is always advisable to forgive the mistake and move ahead. In any case, you should never criticize him or her in front of others. You can speak to the person in private about the issue and make him or her realize the damage.


Call your employees by their first names:

Every person in the world is proud of his or her first name. Calling him or her by that name can have a tremendous effect on his or her psyche. It creates a special kind of bonding between the employee and you. As much as possible, try to remember their names even after they leave the company. This is one of the best ways of building relationships.


Understand the difference between flattery and praise:

Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he or she thinks in order to get benefits. For example, if you were the owner of a clothing store, flattery is telling a woman she looks nice in a dress in order to get her to buy it. Praise is what you think of him or her. Knowing the difference is the key to building effective relationships. Praise is handing out complements for no gain, praise is genuine. You need praise in order to build lasting business relationships.

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering

Understanding The Art Of Relationship Brokering


By Carol Weaving

Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the fulcrum of our economic engine; not only in South African but across the African continent. In South Africa, they provide employment to about 60% of our labour force and they plug-in various gaps in a number of industry value chains, facilitating the effective running of said industries.


Equally important, SMEs are, as South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Francois Groepe asserts, “an essential conduit whereby millions of people enter the economic and social mainstream of a society.”


Through small businesses, the everyman has relatively unfettered access to an otherwise cryptic and many a time, exclusive realm. At a time when our economy needs us all to pull and push together, they present an effective pathway to economic inclusion.

With this in mind, supporting small businesses could not be more urgent. In South Africa, SMEs make up 91% of formalised businesses and are responsible for 34% of our GDP. These are huge numbers that can be bigger the more support there is for SMEs.


We need platforms that facilitate entrepreneurship and small business growth, like the Small Business Expo which is the evolution of 20 years of Thebe Reed Exhibitions’ dedication to entrepreneurship.


The exhibition, focuses on facilitating relationship brokering between small business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, franchisors, corporate leaders and business hubs and incubators. Through effective relationship brokering, small business owners connect and support each other, and grow their establishments.


1. Know your own story, and know it well

Sharing your story – whether it’s your business proposition, your skill set or a project you are working on – is a determinant of successful relationship brokering. You have to know your story, and know it well enough to share it in a compelling manner. Your story is part of the collateral you leave any prospective business connections.


2. Relationship brokering builds social capital

Your own and the social capital of those around you. It’s a process that, when done right, builds your influence and profiles your authority. Not only do you get a chance for people to know you, but also for people to get to know what you do and the pedigree you possess as a business owner, entrepreneur or professional. You position yourself, on an uninterrupted stage that is formal yet relaxed and personal.


3. Relationship brokering is about building sustainable communities of people and businesses that complement each other

It’s about fostering collaboration where synergies exist and enabling connections where business opportunities exist. Beyond that, a successfully built community becomes the support structure to members of its network.


4. Build and maintain bridges

Don’t put yourself first. Pay attention to your business associates and connections. Ascertain their needs and assist them in addressing those needs. During that process, you profile your own skill set and showcase what you and your business can do. This is important as relationship brokering is only self-serving to a point. If it becomes a one-way street, connections crumble because no one wants to be involved in a one-way relationship.


5. Relationship brokering facilitates sharing

Relationships are about mutual value and this mutual value is not only monetary but also about shared objectives, visions and ambitions. This connection must allow parties to draw value strategically for the outcome of a business endeavour or opportunity. The shared value can include knowledge, skills transference or specialist experience – whatever the attribute, achieving mutual value is the objective of the relationship.


6. Quality trumps quantity

Relationship brokering is not a business card collection contest after all. Focus on those businesses and personalities who are stakeholders in your industry’s value chain. Always remember that one quality business relationship surpasses a rolodex of business cards who have no link to your work or industry.


7. Do follow up. Do reach out

Many of us do more than enough sharing of contact details but not enough following up and reaching out. Follow up to legitimise the connection and start building a relationship.

Building and Solidifying Your Relationships With Influencers

Building and Solidifying Your Relationships With Influencers

By Michael Cohn 

You have probably heard something about influencers. You may have some idea about what defines an influencer but your knowledge may not go beyond that. One thing that is very important to remember is that influencers are critical to the success of your business.

The significance of social media influencers

The first thing that you have to do is to determine who is an influencer and then to choose the appropriate influencers for your particular business.

A good way to start your determination process is by figuring out why a particular person has influence over other people in your particular niche or industry. Of course, that influencer must have done certain things that made him or her earn that influencer status. From a marketing perspective, there are a few aspects that are the most prominent and the most important.

  • Reach: Your reach is defined as the amount of people who you have the potential to connect with (on any real level) through the influencer. No doubt, you will only be interested in those people who are valuable to your business.
  • Relevance: When you are at the point of identifying the influencers that are the most advantageous to your business, one of the driving factors is relevance. If what the influencer is doing and saying in no way connects with what you are trying to do with your business, the chances are very good that the person is not the right influencer for you. On the other hand, if the person’s approach is synergistic with what you are trying to do with your business, he or she is probably a good fit for you.
  • Resonance: At this point in the process, you have undoubtedly identified your target audience and you are building those relationships. Whichever influencer(s) you have identified as the most appropriate ones for your business, that person’s ideas must resonate not only with you but also with your target audience. If the information doesn’t resonate with everyone involved, you may have chosen your influencer incorrectly.

Determine your social media influencers
It is not always easy to determine who is the best social media influencers for your particular business. Logically speaking, you need to be certain that the influencers who you have identified for your business are actually the right choices. During your process of identifying those influencers, some of the things that you may wish to consider are the amount of people who follow that influencer and where the person ranks on the search engine pages.

As far as the number of followers is concerned, there are easy ways that you can do that, depending on the particular social media channels that you are researching. If you are researching a particular influencer, you should check him or her out on social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. All of them will let you know how many connections that influencer has. Those social media channels will also allow you to get a strong sense of how involved that particular influencer is with other people online. That is another aspect that is important for you when you are choosing an influencer. Part of that engagement will be in the form of “likes” and part of it will be an actual discussion.

Your research will allow you to determine not only if the influencer is a subject matter expert but also if the person is someone with whom you want to associate on a human level.

Search engine optimization is another extremely important aspect of your decision. If the influencer doesn’t rank high on the search engine pages, you may need to rethink your decision. The search engine rankings are very important and anyone who feels that it is not necessary to pay attention to that is doing his or her business a tremendous disservice. You will see over time that the more top-quality content you share online, the higher your search engine rankings will be.

Pay attention to the engagement aspect
In order to choose the appropriate social media influencers, you will need to get to know them first. That means that you need to engage them. You will want to start valuable conversations (or, at least, one really meaningful one) with the influencer so that you really get to know what he or she stands for. If the person’s views are not a match for your own, it won’t work for your business.

When you start the conversation, make sure that you offer something of value to the other person. It would be a big mistake for you to wait for the other person to offer you value first. If you initiate this, you will have some control over the relationship, which is what you want. In general, the other person will react positively to what you are saying. That is exactly how you build the relationship (and hopefully it will be an enduring one).

If your content is valuable to the influencer, he or she will want to share your content with other people. Again, that is exactly what you want to happen. That increases your reach and your relevance. It will also potentially increase your search engine rankings.

Keep your connections with influencers going strong
At this point, you have done a lot of work to make sure that you cement the relationship with your influencer(s). In short, you have laid the groundwork (or foundation) for the relationship. However, your relationship with your influencers (just like all of your relationships) will need care.

Establishing your relationships is critical and it is a very important first step. However, after that, you will enter the maintenance phase of the relationship. In order to maintain those relationships, you need to continue to interact on a regular basis. You will need to capture the information of exactly who are your influencers in some way.

Creating lists may work very nicely for that. Although it will not cost you a penny to maintain those relationships, there will be a necessary investment on your part. You will need to invest time and effort. That should be pretty easy to do if you make the commitment. After all, it is your business and you will want to do everything possible to become as successful as possible.

Influencers are so important for your success. Just like all other important relationships, you need to establish the relationship, grow it, and maintain it properly. You will get a wonderful return on your investment. Like any other meaningful thing in life, your relationships with your influencers take work but are well worth the effort. As time evolves, you need to remember to be flexible with your market and with the people with whom you share such important, influential relationships.

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3 Emotions Every Marketer Should Bring to A Networking Event

3 Emotions Every Marketer Should Bring to A Networking Event

By Antoinette Capri 

Have you realized how important networking has been in starting and maintaining a successful business?

Whether its social networking sites (ie. Facebook) or a networking event (ie. local Chamber of Commerce); many marketers credit a large amount of their business relationships to their networking connections.

However, if networking is so important for connecting people in business; why are people more likely to use social networking sites than attend a local networking event?

It would seem that meeting people face to face and directly building a rapport with them would give you the upper hand on gaining more referrals and recommendations.

Well, truth is, most people feel uncomfortable meeting face to face to discuss anything.

Think about it.

When you have a pain that really requires an examination, how likely are you to go to the doctor to have them check you out in person. Or, how likely are you to visit a friend at their house when you could quickly call, text or email.

Statistics show that 40% of people socialize through networking sites rather than face to face interactions. 400 million tweets is the average number of tweets being sent in a day.

What does that tell you?

It tells me, that even though you crave relationships, connections and successful businesses; you lack the social skills & confidence it takes to make your desires a reality.

So, if you really want to build long-standing relationships and make your networking events productive and profitable, these three emotions will see you through any face to face interaction or networking event:

1. Curiosity

Ask questions. Answer questions. Give them something good to think about. Questions are powerful. You need to present your business as a solution to their problem. However, you won’t know their problem until you ask what they do and how it works. Ask “What does a typical day in your business look like?” or Ask “What everyday challenges do you notice that are causing you to lose time or money?” When you ask these kinds of questions, it increases their need to share and your need to understand how your businesses can partner up.

2. Confidence

Know what you want to achieve from the networking event. Do you want more leads? Do you need more contacts? Do you need to hire someone? Do you need a specific service or type of professional? What service can you use in your business? What kind of businesses will instantly make a difference in your business? Don’t collect a business card unless you plan to contact them in the next 48 hours. The more you know about their business and the needs of your business, the more confident you’ll present yourself and your business.

3. Hope

Attend these events with the hope that these short interactions will create new challenges, new opportunities, and new ideas for business growth and innovation. Face to face networking events give you an advantage, in business, over other people because it allows business owners to attach an experience, a face and a name. People have longer memories of a person with a specific experience; unlike a text or email.

In summary, curiosity helps you share your business, confidence helps you present your business and hope helps you build your business. Your emotions play a key role in creating and maintaining successful business relationships at any and every networking event.

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