Time is money. We’ve all heard the phrase, right? But do we really take that into consideration when we analyze our business networking practices?
It’s easy to simply “attend” networking events without ever giving any thought to the ROI — Return On Investment. In fact, the majority of “networkers” simply show up at functions out of habit or a feeling that they SHOULD.
But, it’s important to remember that business networking is a marketing strategy and should be planned for and evaluated as such. You wouldn’t just throw money at random marketing activities like magazine ads, billboards, flyers and trade shows without first considering the time and money involved with each one. (at least we hope you wouldn’t)
Same goes with networking.
First, determine your overall goals for networking. Are you looking for a referral partner in a particular industry? Do you want to find a new resource for printing projects? Whatever it is, having your goal in mind will help you determine where, when and with whom you network in order to achieve that particular goal.
Second, set a budget of your time and money that you are willing to invest in business networking. This is the step that can really cost you if you neglect it. Costs for networking events and activities — including travel, time away from the office and follow up — can get out of hand if you don’t track where you are spending your time and money.
Third, follow your plan and budget when deciding which events to attend. You will be much more likely to choose wisely and not simply attend without thinking — which will save you time and money in the long run.
Finally, you’ll want to periodically review your networking activities and compare the expenses involved with the results you are getting. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine which business networking venues and groups best serve your business goals and eliminate those that are empty expenditures.
How much time do you spend each week or month engaged in business networking? Share your thoughts by clicking on the word “comment” below this post. Thanks!