Why Collecting Business Cards is Not Networking

Don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there. June 21, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. One of the biggest mistakes people make when networking is thinking that it’s just about running around the room collecting as many business cards as possible. These are often people who don’t really like networking but they know they have to do it, and they think this is the best way to get it done. I’ve tried telling them that this is not networking — it’s either face-to-face cold calling or worse yet, it’s simply “card collecting.”  Years ago, I ran into a couple of business partners who made a competition of collecting cards at networking events. The person who collected the least number of cards had to buy the other partner dinner that week. They were very proud of this networking strategy — seriously, they bragged about it to […]

Read more

Use This Networking Strategy And You Could End Up Meeting the Next Bill Gates

Why you should always get to know the wallflowers. May 30, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I was recently talking about networking with a good friend of mine, Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark is a psychiatrist and consultant, and he said something that intrigued me.  “People should always introduce themselves to the wallflower in the room. Nobody attends a networking event wanting to stay in a corner and be left alone. They’re in that corner because the most technically skilled people are often socially shy. You never know when you’ll meet the next Bill Gates.” This comment really resonated with me, and it reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was at a party put on by Virgin Galactic relating to the testing of White Knight Two and SpaceShip Two. I walked outside the party and looked over in the […]

Read more

Why Soft Skills Make Strong Networks

It is possible to do well, by doing good. April 19, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. I’m not much of a “new-age” guy. Yet, I believe in the immense power of the Law of Reciprocity. This concept touches upon the deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice for someone who did something nice for you. There is certainly value in soft skills, but if you would like to see some evidence as to why those skills work, I can tell you there’s a lot out there to support the Law of Reciprocity, starting with the Nash equilibrium theory (the acronym of which is, ironically, NET).   Nash’s equilibrium theory basically states that the best result will come when everyone in the group is doing what is best for both themselves and the group — a form of reciprocity. The optimal outcome of a situation […]

Read more

What It Takes to Grow a Little Company Founded on a Big Vision

With big aspirations comes a responsibility to constantly innovate and take on a wide range of roles. March 26, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It was 1986, and I had just started my enterprise a year earlier. The concept of working “on” my business and not just “in” my business really resonated with me. So, I wanted to do some vision-making for my business and do my best to think ahead for the next 5-10 years. How many clients did I foresee? How many states would I be operating in? What additional support could we provide our clients? All of these objectives came down to the need for a more comprehensive organizational infrastructure. I needed a bigger operation to eventually handle the bigger vision that I had for the company. Related: The One Rule to Achieving Work-Life Balance So, I sat down and started my multi-year plan […]

Read more

The One Rule to Achieving Work-Life Balance

March 6, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Would you like to know the “one rule to creating balance in your life”?  Here it is — “There is no one rule!”  It’s a recipe, or rather a combination of things that help you achieve the life you desire. However, there is one truth, and that truth is that the quality of your life depends on the people in your life.   Related: How to End a Conversation — Without Offending Anyone Around You Imagine you live your life in one room, and that one room has only one door. Now imagine this door is an “Enter Only” door, “No Exit!” Whoever comes through this door will be in your room and your life — forever! They can never get out.  Luckily, this is a metaphor, but let’s assume for a moment it is true. If so, would you be more selective about the people […]

Read more

What to Do When Your Client Is Just Not Referable

If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you are able to take feedback and adjust. January 24, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. A friend of mine in BNI recently told me a story about her early days in the organization. Her name is Meaghan and when she joined the group, she had just come out of the construction management industry. Although she was now working as a business coach, she was still dressing to fit in at a construction site. Her entire wardrobe, according to her, was casual shirts and khaki pants which was well-dressed within the context of a construction site. One day, two of her fellow members conducted a little “intervention.” They sat down with her and said, “we want to help you because — right now, as a business coach — you’re just not referable! You don’t present a professional image.” They went on to say […]

Read more

Why the Remote Meetings of the Future Will Be Face-to-Face

The future of business networking may vary dramatically from the in-person interactions we’re used to. December 12, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When I started BNI in 1985, the most often-asked question from the media was: “Is this networking thing just a fad?” Well, almost 34 years and more than 8,700 groups later — it’s clearly not a fad. There have been changes over time though. The biggest change has been the introduction of the internet. Ironically, online networking has contributed to the success of face-to-face networks by greatly reducing the communication hierarchy and allowing people to communicate through online platforms (including walled gardens just for members). I saw a trend relating to the integration of face-to-face and online networking eight years ago and I wrote about it here on Entrepreneur. According to the Small Business Administration, today around “50% of all small businesses are home-based,” and according to […]

Read more

How to End a Conversation — Without Offending Anyone Around You

Whether you’re ready to wrap it up immediately or have time for courtesies, here are a handful of efficient exit lines. November 8, 2018 3 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As the Founder of BNI, one of the world’s largest referral networking organization, I often get asked about the best way to end a conversation in a networking situation. Candidly, I think the answer is pretty simple. So, I’ll start this piece with the “simple solution.” From there, for those of you who love to over-think things, I’ll give you some other options. Related: The New Networking: 8 Strategies for Building Real Relationships Simply say something like, “It was really nice meeting you. Do you have a card so I can have your contact information. Thanks.” That’s it. No fuss. No muss. No big deal. Don’t apologize because you have to go network and definitely don’t’ say you see someone else you need to […]

Read more

The Steps You Should Take If You Want to Build Business Off Referrals

Move past the mentality of “wanting referrals and wanting them now” by considering the strength of your relationships. September 12, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. So, you want referrals and you want them now?  Well, you can’t have them. Unless, you’ve built meaningful relationships with your referral partners first. I’m often asked, “How long does it take for people to receive referrals from their network and how do we speed this process up?” Building a referral-based business is all about building a powerful, personal network. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you will never get the kind of referrals that will make a difference for your business. This means that you have to go deep in building a number of strong relationships. Related: 8 Ways to Use Emotional Intelligence and Make Lasting Connections From my experience, strong referral relationships are a […]

Read more

Dude, Where are My Wheels: Why A Strong Network Can Always Help You in Difficult Situations

How one unfortunate story in my youth taught me the importance of knowing the right people. Read_more Related posts: 6 Tips for Building a Strong Support Network from Unlikely Sources 8 Retail Tips to Boost Sales and Help You Finish the Year Strong How to Translate Your Real-Life Social Network Into a Social Media Following The Property Brothers Offer Free Advice On Building a Strong Business — and a Strong Partnership Dreading an Upcoming ‘Difficult’ Conversation? Here Are 10 Tips That Can Help. 5 Situations that Demand You Hire a Professional Copywriter Why Your Network Is Your Net Worth 25 Tips to Network With Top CEOs

Read more

How to Display the Ideal Body Language When Networking

Learn when it’s appropriate to use hand gestures and head nods when building new relationships. July 11, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Body language can be a powerful attractant or deterrent when it comes to building relationships with others. People assess you visually within the first few minutes of meeting you. I’ve been asked a lot about body language by the media over the years. Here are some of their questions along with my answers relating to the use of body language in networking environments. Related: 5 Networking Tips for Introverts Moving to a New Industry 1. What can you do to increase your confidence and to come off as warm, friendly or knowledgeable to others? People over-think this issue. The answer is pretty straight forward — be more “interested” than “interesting.”  When you are meeting people, practice being an interested interviewer and an active listener. Learn about them […]

Read more

How Talking Too Much in Class Turned Into My Greatest Asset

At times, those tendencies standing ‘in your way’ can become ‘the way’ to success. June 13, 2018 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. When I was in elementary school, I generally received good reports from my teachers. However, one thing that came up time and time again was a comment by almost all of my teachers: “Ivan talks too much in class.”  My mother had numerous conversations with me about this, but to no avail. I figure that she thought my grades were pretty good and she generally liked to pick and choose her battles on issues. Consequently, she didn’t really push the matter, and so… I talked and talked and talked in class. It showed up on many of my report cards. My teachers felt that it was a problem for me in school. My mother, on the other hand, didn’t give me much grief on the subject. While […]

Read more

Don’t Show Off, Show Interest

How to network, not do in-person cold calls. March 20, 2018 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Sometimes, when I go to networking events, I observe people engaging in what I like to call “dueling monologues.” Now, “Dueling Banjos” — that’s a great song. Dueling pianos, those are great music venues. Dueling monologues (prolonged dueling talks by one person at a time) — well, not so exciting. Frankly, I don’t think most people (if any) are really interested if you ask them. The problem is that there are a lot of people winging it when it comes to networking. They attend an event and go straight into “sales mode.” They do this with someone who is also winging it which leads to the dueling monologue syndrome. This whole scenario would be pretty funny — if it weren’t actually true!!! Unfortunately, it is true. So, the question […]

Read more