Networking. It has become one of the most recognized terms, if not expectations, in contemporary business and social life. Indeed, it can be a powerful means of growing a business, growing personally and professionally, and developing socially. But how do I find the right ‘network’ that works for me, brings out my best, allows me to add value to the world around me and one that serves me well, too? I have searched and experimented, gained a bunch and wasted some time and money as well. Read on, because I’ve found what I’m looking for and maybe I can help you.
I have done the BNI thing (Business Networking International). You know, meet once a week with other business people, learn about their business and what makes a good referral for them, give them quality and quantity in referrals, and they will bless you in kind. But what about those people who in the group for whom you don’t seem to find the right kind of referrals? Worse, what about those people who somehow got into your group and you simply cannot recommend or even trust? And I can’t miss weekly meetings, or I must send a substitute, yet I am a sole proprietor with a growing business? The model doesn’t work – for very long.
I have done the good old fashioned networking group. In fact, I’ve been involved with one for more than 17 years. These are people I trust and admire. We advise each other, care for each other, look forward to each other’s company. Yet I wanted something more.
I explored several avenues. I even entertained the concept of starting a series of ‘speed-networking’ events to reach far if not deep into a new netork.
Fortunately, before I invested too much time or money launching a speed-networking venture I got Inspired! I am fortunate to live in Central Illinois, in Decatur specifically, within about 50 minutes of several cities of 100,000+ population including Springfield, the state capital. I met a guy, Rob, at a Springfield Chamber of Commerce networking event (of course) who invited me to his new co-invention, InspireNET. Co-invention because he and four other like-minded people invented the group together. It’s the networking group for which I have been looking, and thought I would have to create. Instead, I am creating the first expansion group from the original.
If servant leadership, living your life on purpose, and surrounding your self with great people are things you highly value, take a look at www.InspireNET.org. Read the Inspiration Manifesto. Get Inspired and get Networked all at the same time. Change the world around you by giving more of your value every day through every relationship. Every life has a reason and we all have untapped potential for inspiring others. More on InspireNet.org in future posts.