For the first half of my entrepreneurial life, I had such an allergy to 'schmooze' that the idea of networking was just unbearable. But, I have learned a lot, since, about how to make it work and in doing so, I've impacted my business in a myriad of ways. So I would like to share my perspective on it, in hopes that it might spur some of you to leave your SOHO hiding spot, too.
Simply put, the best way to approach networking is as a way to build relationships. My approach is slightly unorthodox, but it works - today, the vast majority of my business comes from networking and referrals.
Before you enter the networking fray, think about the types of relationships you would like to build for your business network. This could mean determining a type of person or industries that would be a natural fit with yours, or a source for referral business. Sometimes the best places to network are not obvious - it might be a place where no one else does what you do, but many attendees know someone who needs what you do.