If you talk to successful business people from any field, the one thing they will all have in common is a professional network. Entrepreneurs and business professionals spend their free time connecting with other business professionals and creating a network of contacts that can benefit their careers. If you develop the right kind of professional network, then you will have a support system that will allow you to expand your influence and climb the corporate ladder.
The Charles Phillips Infor professional network has allowed the CEO to build a business of over 73,000 customers. Maybe your professional network will never get quite that big, but you can still do plenty to develop a network that benefits you and your professional contacts.
Utilize Your Network
When professionals connect with other professionals, there is always an interest on both sides as to what benefit will come from the connection. The best way to enhance the value of your professional network is to use your network to help your contacts, and to help your own career. When you have an active network that others want to become a part of, then the benefit to each of your contacts is the ability to add to their resources and expand their sphere of influence.
Develop A Diverse Network
People who are successful in business know that every contact in a professional network counts. You may think that you have to limit your network contacts to just financial experts if you work in the financial field, but that is not true. When you have a diverse professional network, you are able to offer more value to your contacts and create more opportunities for yourself.
If you take your professional contact network seriously, then it will pay off in the long run. Invest in simple database software that will allow you to organize all of the information you have for each contact, and update any information you have that would help you to maximize each relationship. For example, by making note of a contact’s birthday, you can enhance your relationship by sending a simple birthday wish through the mail or over the Internet. The small touches that can be accomplished by maintaining your network will yield big results.
If you are not available to your contact network, then your network will start to shrink. When you get a call from one your professional contacts, you should do whatever you can to accommodate the needs of that contact. It is also a good idea to maintain regular contact with your network to keep those lines of communication open.
It is extremely difficult for a business professional to advance their career without an active network of contacts. Developing a professional network is an art in itself that every successful entrepreneur tries to master. By developing a large network of people you can call on in a variety of professional situations, you increase your value to others in your industry and expand your influence throughout your field.