Running a network is not easy, even if the network is a small cohort of people who are all close friends. The reality is leading a network means juggling a lot of competing interests of all people within the network. Developing that closeness takes time and effort, much like running a business. Networking is about people, and Network Lead Exchange is ready with tools to help take networking into the future. Here are some of the most effective ways to better lead a network.
The idea that networking should reflect the people in the network often causes network’s leader to pack away their natural leadership qualities. Business leaders like those in a network are people with strong personalities, and the pull to be deferential is quite strong. That said, it would be a disservice to the network if the leader’s vision was subsumed. The personality of the network’s leader is a large part of why the network is populated with other professionals. People in the network are there because the leader inspires a vision of business. Therefore, for anyone who is leading a network, make sure the network is reflective of those important personal values. This tip is not something new – personalizing a network is a long-adopted practice. However, the Network Lead Exchange platform allows for that personalization to really permeate a network, and that builds a stronger connection between the network’s leader and its members.
Whether the network is populated with local entrepreneurs or the geography of the network is vast, all networks have activities. One thing all leaders can do with activities is make sure every time the network meets in person or virtually, that the activity is relevant to the network’s mission. One of the key missions of any network is building interpersonal connections and building formal and informal business partnerships. As a leader, the job is quite simple: build activities for the network and take part in the activities as a guide. Networking activities lose relevance if the get together is just a place where people hang out. The reason why professionals are in the network is to advance business. This means leaders should set agendas and stick to them. Build in unstructured time in the activities as well. The fun and functionality of these activities will create stronger bonds between network members. Network Lead Exchange’s platform allows pushing out these activities quickly and helping leaders coordinate these activities with greater efficiency.
The biggest thing leaders can do to make networking within their group more valuable is planning out networking time. Activities are great, but something simple like sending out messages privately to members is a great way to facilitate increased activity. Set aside time each and every day just to check in on the network and to send messages to people who may not be as active. The more present folks are in the network, the better it is for the leader. Thanks to Network Lead Exchange’s technology, it’s now easy for leaders to log in and personalize contact with members. This makes the network that much more relevant to the members and makes everyone feel connected.
Every group – even something simple like a Facebook group – has some sort of structure. The loosest groups have requirements. Networking especially requires structure, and a leader’s job is making sure all interactions in the network have value. There are several ways to do this. A simple way is for a leader to incentivize the interaction financially. Setting a floor for a referral is something encouraging network members to interact. There are less overt ways as well. One way is simply sending kind notes to members after they add value to each other’s business. Promoting each time there’s an interaction that the interaction is rewarded is a critical part of the Network Lead Exchange platform. Making it easy to incentivize interactions means networking group leaders have more tools available to build their networks.
It is important to promote accomplishments on the network, and many network leaders resist this idea because they are afraid of being viewed as arrogant or boastful. However, part of the reason people join networks is the success of network leaders. There is great value to this promotion – it showcases the skills of a network leader. The other area of value is how talking about accomplishments encourages network members to do the same. The best part about being in a business network is sharing in each other’s success. Great networking leaders make sure everyone on the network feels like they can share their wins without judgment. Thanks to the networking platform of Network Lead Exchange, it’s now easier than ever for a network leader to share accomplishments and provide kudos to those who also have wins.
A great network leader makes sure getting into the network is easy for the right people, and leaving the network is something requiring lots of deliberation. It’s not a capture issue, as much as a value issue. Making it easy to enter is simple – network leaders have an idea of the prospects who should be in the network. They advertise on the right platforms, and people join. Making leaving the network hard is a function of how valuable networking is. If the network offers lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow the business, they will stay in the network for a long time. If there’s little reward for being in the network, these leaders will exit. For network leaders, it is imperative to offer lots of value, and the tools in the Network Lead Exchange platform makes it easy to demonstrate the value attracting and retaining members.
There are plenty of ways to make networks valuable, but ultimately the leader determines how valuable the network is for members. Use these tips to turn your network into a closely knit group. Find the tools helping you do that @ NETWORKLEADEXCHANGE.COM.