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This week - Featured article - Are You Neglecting Your Network?

From: Kent S.
Sent on: Thursday, February 14, 2008 11:40 AM


I found this article today and I think it has something important to say to each of us – especially during the WINTER Doldrums. I do not know about you – but I have cabin fever in the worst way.  For some reason, when headed out on Monday to prepare for our New Iowa Entrepreneurs’ Coalition meeting – I felt depressed and as if this is the longest winter in recent memory. I have had enough – let’s travel to somewhere warmer – if only….  

We have to resist the temptation to hibernate during this time of year – check out this article for some great suggestions.


Are You Neglecting Your Network?

by Stephanie Ward

As a business owner, you know many people, and you probably meet new people every day. This is your network. But what are you doing with it? How often do you connect with people in your network? Do you have a plan to stay in touch consistently and develop your relationships?

If you have been neglecting your network, it is time to make some changes. It is never too late to begin where you are; and, start connecting with the people you know.

Networking is about giving first. It is about building relationships over time with people. If you do not invest in nurturing and growing your relationships with people in your network, then your network will become nothing more than a list of names in a database.

When you stay in touch and develop relationships with people, your business will be top of mind when people need your products or services. This also increases the number of referrals people will give to your business.

To nurture a relationship, you must give it attention and energy. There are loads of ways to connect with people (many of which are very inexpensive). You can:

  • Pick up the phone
  • Send an e-mail
  • Send a note the old fashioned way (otherwise known as snail-mail using the post)
  • Meet in person for coffee, lunch or a drink

Finding a reason to connect is not hard to do. You do not have to wait for something big to happen; little things can mean a lot too. Here are just a few ideas:

  • No specific reason, just to see what's new and catch up
  • Birthdays or anniversaries
  • Sharing an article, book, website, or other resource

How often you touch base depends on the kind of relationship you have with each person. For some people connecting twice a year is perfect and for others every three months is appropriate. You might have monthly contact with people you know quite well and for very close relationships perhaps even more frequently.

Think about different types of people you know and how often you would like to be in touch with:

  • New acquaintances
  • Current clients
  • Inactive clients
  • Former colleagues
  • Suppliers for your business

The key to successfully nurturing your network is to create a structured plan. Random acts of kindness and connection never hurt, but to really build a relationship it's better to have consistent contact.

To make it easy to stay in touch, you need to use a system to keep track of who you want to contact and when. If you rely on your memory, you won't get very far.

You can create a system by setting reminders in your own contact database. Or if you use Outlook, you can use the 'Tasks' feature where you can make notes with reminder dates.

The type of system you use isn't important. What is important is having a system and taking action. Find something that works for you and get started today.

By using a system, nurturing your network will become a regular habit and it will not seem like such a big task.

Spending the time and energy getting to know your network is an investment with an enormous return. Not only is it fun, it will help you expand your business.

Are you starting to see the value of reaching out to the people you know and building a relationship over time? Make the decision to create a plan to nurture your network and build connections that will thrive over time.

Copyright 2008, Stephanie Ward


Have a great day!





Kent Sovern

Entrepreneurial Evangelist

Public Management Resource Group

Des Moines Office

1534 Germania Drive

Des Moines, Iowa[masked]


Office:            [masked]

Cell:               [masked]

E-mail:            [address removed]

Skype:            kent.sovern



Please contact Kent and the PMRG project design team will provide you a free 30-minute project consultation. 


Our offices in Boone, Panora, and Des Moines Iowa are centrally located

to serve small business, community based organizations and government leaders throughout the upper mid-west. 



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