May
02

Set Networking Goals

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Do you have goals for your business? Do you have marketing goals and sales goals? This is a perfect example of the concept we mentioned earlier: the “uncommon application of common knowledge”. We all know intellectually that goals are important. The question is, how well do we apply that knowledge?

How about networking goals? If you don’t have any, believe it or not, you are in the majority. Obviously you believe in the power of networking or you would not have purchased this book. Why, then, have you not written networking goals for your business?

Networking seems to be one of those things that many people do as a reaction to no or slow business. It often gets forgotten. It is rarely treated as an integral part of how we grow our businesses. Not only is it frequently neglected, but most people are haphazard in their approach to networking, and far from systematic. This approach to networking can keep you from ever getting close to the 29%. This first strategy helps you avoid the pitfalls of treating networking as an afterthought – as something far less than what it can be for your business.

One way to systematize and organize your approach to networking is to set measurable networking goals. As our friends Denna Tucci Schmitt (owner of BNI Western Pennsylvania) often says, “Without a goal, you have nothing at which to aim.” We would add that if you don’t have a goal, you can’t measure your results. “That which gets written, gets done,” as our colleague Tom Fleming in Florida would say.

One way to systematize and organize your approach to networking is to set measurable networking goals.

SMART Goals

Each goal you create should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timed with a deadline. Let’s take a moment to clarify the concept of a SMART goal.

Specific. The goal must be clearly defined with parameters that state who, what, when, where and how. Specific goals help you stay focused on one thing at a time. For example, stating that you want to become a member of a networking group is fine, but you can define your goal more clearly by saying that you want to become a member of a specific chamber of a particular BNI chapter.

Measurable. The goal must include a way of measuring the results. This typically means that there is a number of associated with the goal, such as how many or what percentage – some quantifiable way to measure progress towards the goal. Stating that you want to receive more referrals this year is neither specific nor measurable; it’s more useful to say specifically that you want a 30 percent increase in your referral business from a networking group.

Attainable. Each goal that you create must be within reach. It should not be so far-fetched that it’s out of your vision. To determine whether a goal is attainable, consider what you accomplished this year. then consider what you have coming up next year that may either impede or improve your ability to meet a specific goal. Finally consider everything that needs to be done to accomplish your goal. When all is said and done, do you honestly feel that with hard work, dedication, and focus, you can meet this goal? If so, write it down and commit to achieving it.

Relevant. The goal must have relevance and meaning for you; otherwise, you will not be motivated to accomplish it. What will be the outcome if you meet a particular goal? Will you make more money? Will you have a higher quality of life? Will you be able to save for retirement more comfortably? Will you get a promotion or a raise? Will you save time in the long run? Whatever your personal motivation, ensure that your goals tap into it. Doing so will inspire you every day to keep striving towards the finish line.

Timed. Speaking of a finish line, the goal must have a deadline or completion date assigned to it. Without one, you will lose your focus and your desire to meet your goals in a timely  manner. Our human competitive nature draws us to the finish line. We need to aim for a target. For example, stating that you want a 30 percent increase in your referral business from your participation in a networking group is indeed specific and measurable, but how long will it take, and when will you measure it? Stating that you want a 30 percent increase in your annual referral business from the organisation by December 31 will be much more effective, because it contains a deadline.

When you put all of these elements together, you might end up with a goal statement that looks like one of these

  • I will become a member of the ABC Chamber by June 30
  • I will achieve a 30 percent increase in my annual referral business from networking in [a certain networking group] by December 31

We know that setting – “SMART” goals – can be difficult. But we’ve also seen how powerful they can be, as well as the consequences of not giving them their due. Collectively, your two coauthors have written many training curricula. Each one starts with a goal in mind. We’ve been well trained, for how can we even begin to organize material into a training seminar without first having the end in mind? We typically formulate a set of questions that must be answered before we can move ahead to design the curriculum.

Steven Covey validates this concept in his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of his strategies is to “begin with the end in mind”. The questions below, adapted from his book, will help you focus on what you want to accomplish through networking. Once you being your own goal-setting process, however, don’t limit yourself to these questions.

Week 1 Action

Your task this week is to answer – in writing, not simply in your head – each of the following questions as honestly and as fully as you can. They will provide a structure that will help you create your goal statements. Besides, you have to set your goals before you can design a plan for meeting them. We’ll focus on developing that plan in Week 2, so we encourage you to approach this goal-setting process with enthusiasm and diligence. (Remember, you’re building that foundation for your networking home!)

Questions for Sample Networking GOALS

  1. How much business do you want to get from word-of-mouth referrals, and by when?
    1. What do you need to do for this to happen?
    2. Who will bring you this business?
    3. What kind of business do you expect to get from referrals?
    4. Will the referrals focus on a specific product or service?
  2. How many networking functions will you attend each month?
    1. How will you find out about these functions?
    2. What will you accomplish at these functions?
  3. How many referrals do you want each week? Each month?
  4. How many of the techniques in this book will you begin each month?
  5. What five things will you do differently to network your business?
  6. With whom do you want to meet this year? (List anything that comes to mind: businesses, professions, names of specific people you’d like to meet.)
  7. Of which networking groups would you like to become a member this year?

Taken from The 29% Solutions.  Now available in an Australian edition.  Contact your local director for more information.

Categories : BNI Fundamentals

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