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4 Practical Ways to Grow Your Business: #2 Say "Yes" to Coffee

At times, networking gets a bad rap, but the reality is that it’s crucial when you grow your business.


Two colleagues enjoying coffee

"I always say yes to meeting someone new or reconnecting with a past colleague. These meetings have led to new clients, new employees, productive partnerships, and positive word of mouth about the work we do and how we support our clients and community. The key, don’t think of it as networking. Instead, see this as an opportunity to get to know someone and understand if there are common interests and ways to work together. It’s also okay when there are no immediate outcomes. I’ve found that many of these connections turn into work or employees six to twelve months later.” 

According to Forbes, “Networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.”  

 

If you still struggle with the idea of networking, Harvard Business Review suggests these three tips: 

  1. Focus on learning: When we embrace a growth mindset and engage with curiosity when it comes to networking, we can shift from seeing networking as a chore to an opportunity for discovery!  

  2. Identify common interests: When we find connection points with someone else outside of our career –sports, music, coffee, board games, anything - the interactions feel more authentic and less forced.   

  3. Think broadly about what you can give: It makes sense that those further along in their careers are more comfortable networking because they know they have value to add in terms of social connections, technical support, and knowledge or information. But it’s those who don’t that are most in need of the value that comes from networking! If you don’t like networking because you don’t feel like you have much to offer, try to shift your thinking to the benefits a senior leader gets from supporting you. HBR highlights less obvious benefits like gratitude, recognition, and enhanced reputation. 

You are not an island! Say yes to coffee to build or rebuild relationships before you “need” something.   

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