I built my business in three days.  

Yes, you read that right. 

I know, I know, you might be thinking, “Um, Danielle, if it can be done in three days, why the heck are you training startups on a twelve-week program?”  

Well, first of all, my business is a consultancy, which is a different animal than, say, a retail or manufacturing business. But that aside, however long the startup process takes you, the point is that you can gain a customer base and market share much more quickly if you have planted the right seeds ahead of time. And, by that, I mean building a solid network. 

You see, I had been building a network and reputation for thirteen years before I started my company. If someone wanted to have coffee, I had coffee. If they wanted to get together for lunch, I went for lunch. Just a quick meeting? Sure. Conversation at a Chamber event or community function? I’m all ears. 

I did it because I am always curious about – and fascinated by – the creative, innovative things people are doing. If I can make a referral, open a door of some kind, or help in some way, I want to do that. That’s been my MO for years. I have never done it to be self-serving (I didn’t even know I was going to start a business when I started networking), but the fact is that making an investment in others does come back to serve us. And that’s what happened for me. 

You see, I had been recruited to build the Canadian subsidiary of an international company. I left my job in economic development and took a chance on this company, and it just wasn’t working. I had a side hustle already, providing professional writing services, so it occurred to me that I should hang out my shingle and see if I could work my way out of this job and transition into full-time consulting. I estimated it would take a year. It took three days. All I did was put up a Facebook page, and within three days, I had enough business to quit that job and go into my practice full time. That was eight years ago, and I have not looked back.  

If I can do that, so can you. 

Networking for the Win 

For the month of May, I am focusing my “shares” on networking for business. Why? Because it is such a powerful business-building tool that is often undervalued or not leveraged to its full extent. 

So, let me share some thoughts on networking to ignite your possibility thinking. 

According to the website “The Balance for Small business”, Business networking is Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other businesspeople and potential clients or customers.” 

Notice it does not say just going to events and talking to people, or making new friends, or schmoozing. It says, “establishing a mutually beneficial relationship”! That’s the point of networking. It builds relationships that are beneficial to both parties. – to do business together! 

This means that you will have to both give and take. It requires an investment on your part. It’s important for you to know this going in. You are not just there networking in the hopes of getting sales or clients. You network to find mutual opportunities. You’ll need to be prepared to spend time and money, investing in the relationship, so that you both gain. 

Next week we’ll talk about where to network, but for now, just keep this in mind: go in with a giving attitude and a desire to make genuine connections. If you just start with that attitude and approach, you’ll have a great experience. 

And, as always, stay on point!