Monday, September 21, 2015

Circle of Friends By LaTasha West

They say you become like the 5 people that you are around the most. If you look around you, are you comfortable becoming like those people?  If your answer is yes, then great keep doing what you are doing. If the answer is no, then it’s time to meet you some new “friends”.I remember hearing Boss founder Cameka say that “Your network determines your net worth”. That statement stuck with me. I have found this to be so true.  A few years ago I moved to a town where I knew no more than 10 people. I moved here as a business owner and had no connections. I had to getout and build a new network from scratch! This was not an easy task.When you are looking to build a good circle of people you must be selective and strategic. There are some very specific questions you should be able to answer: Who do you need to know? Why do you need to know them? What can you offer to them?Notice the last question is “what can you offer”; this is important because you want to build solid relationships. Strong networks are mutually beneficially, don’t just take, also be able to give. Next you need to know : Where are they? How can you find them? Networking should not be done haphazardly, have a plan. A few things that I have found to really work are:

1. Host your own events, teach a class, offer a free workshop-invite people out.

By doing this you are able to introduce yourself to the people you want to know. Pick a subject that you know well and is of interest to your targeted audience, and offer a free class at the local library or coffee shop.  (I picked these locations because they are free, so you don’t waste money if you have a low turnout.)

2. Join organizations, get a paid membership.

This will put in direct contact with like-minded people. A word of caution research your organization,visit a few events as a guest before joining to be sure this is a good fit. By joining paid organizations, you surround yourself with people who are serious enough to invest in themselves. These are people who see the value in learning and growth. They are most likely looking to get ahead.

3. Get social, use the internet to meet potential allies. Sites, such as Meet-up and Linkedin have been great!

4. Talk to people in the places you frequent, you never know who knows who, or who knows what.

These strategies worked for me. I have done each and every one and have seen great success. In the two years I have been in this town, I have been able to go from an unknown to speaking at the Mayor’s conference. This has all been possible because the network of people around me.

Who’s in your circle?

The author

LaTasha West is the CEO of West International Business Solutions LLC. She is a certified Small Business Development Coach, a passionate speaker, the founder of The Next 100 Project, co-author of The Entrepreneur Within You 3 (book) and creator of the First Impressions Customer Service and Soft Skills training program. Known as an innovative and creative business strategist, she has helped numerous small businesses expand their playing field.

   Connect with LaTasha West on Twitter &
 Instagram @latasha_west and Facebook.

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