The Guardian Newspaper confirmed last week “British businesses grew at their slowest rate in nearly six years last month because of fears of a no-deal Brexit and rising global trade barriers, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry.”
With the fear of another recession there is now genuine concern about what will happen to a lot of organisations when spending is scaled back again, or the outcome of Brexit negotiations and withdrawal on the 29th March 2019. Growing your Market Share in 2019, is something that a lot of companies are concerned Brexit will negatively influence.
In 2002 Ivan Misner Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (one of the world’s largest Networking Events Organisers) wrote for the Entrepeneur Magazine on How to Combat a slow economy. One of the big points that came from the interview is to act as if you aren’t in a recession:
If you want to do well in business, you must understand that it does absolutely no good to complain to people about how tough things are. When you complain about how bad business is, half the people you tell don’t care, and the other half are glad that you’re worse off than they are!Ivan Misner – Founder of BNI
It’s a brave strategy and one that served Ivan well, as he built his BNI Group into the World Leading Organisation it is now. Ivan left us with some key points that have helped guide not only his business, but thousands of others that used their Networking Skills to refuse to participate in a recession.
- Diversify your networks. You need breadth and depth. Participate in different kinds of groups, now is the time to be going out meeting new people outside of your normal network. Perhaps attend events to support Start-ups, particular industries that might not be obvious to your core market. You never know who knows who in the room
- Refuse to be a “cave-dweller.” Be visible. Get out there and meet people at business events. Plan your business diary around upcoming events, if you have a sales meeting in Birmingham, see if there is a networking breakfast nearby in the morning that you can go to before your meeting nearby. Leave a little earlier and get more from your day.
- Learn how to work the meetings you attend. It’s not called “net-sit” or “net-eat,” it’s called “network.” Learn networking systems and techniques that apply to the different kinds of organizations you attend.
- Be prepared. Have effective introductions and presentations to give to other business professionals at networking events and meetings. Practise articulating your value to customers, partners and suppliers. What can you do to support people and their growth, this might include remembering specific stats or business stories that would be relevant. Be clear about what your value is and why they should do business with you.
- Develop your contact spheres. These people could be potential partners or door openers for you into new business. Be prepared to think outside of the box, could you add value to their business and vice-versa yours. For example – a lot of graphic designers partner with print companies to cross share work which is outside of their core business model.
- Know your goal. Perhaps most important, understand that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about building relationships with other business people. Remember they are there looking for same thing you, opportunities for new business and support to grow their organisation. What does success look like to you, be specific about meeting new people at each event and sometimes specific people in certain industries.