Veterans Business Resources

a portal for all Veterans and SDV Small Business Owners

Networking With a Purpose

At the end of the day, our most basic desire of Networking is turning contacts into contracts.  With that in mind, there are some key questions we must ask ourselves and answer before we achieve the kinds of successes we’re looking for; turning contacts into contracts.  Some basic questions we might ask and seek answers to are; which individual(s) or group of people at the Networking event is most important?  How do I determine who is most important?  When do I determine who is most important?  What is my strategy for the Networking event? 

A good Networking Strategy has S.M.A.R.T. goals.  These S.M.A.R.T. goals turn contacts into contracts by developing business alliances that can/will help grow your business.  S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific – they describe the details of what you want out of each networking situation.  They identify the “5 Ws” and the how; the who, what, when, where and how of your overall goal.  We already know the WHY, which is to turn contacts into contracts.  Measurable – each goal you establish must be measurable.  Develop a metric to measure your success.  Attainable – your networking goals must be important to you and you must be committed to working hard to achieve them.  Realistic – is the goal you created doable based on your skills, capabilities, resources and time?  Timely – each goal you set should have a timeframe attached to it; otherwise you will not push yourself to achieve it. 

The most important people at any networking event are the people that have both money and the ability to award and/or influence the award of contracts.  The next group in importance is the people that you can form a team with that will produce a win-win outcome.  When possible, always get a list of the networking participants.  Once you have even a partial list of attendees, immediately sit down and start conducting research to get as much information about them as possible.  Learn as much as you can about the agencies that will attend and participate in the Networker.  

Document the mental exercises you just went through.  This is now your action plan.   There should be very few, if any surprises when you start executing your plan.  Even if there is an occasional speed bump, you can quickly and easily get back on track because you have your process down cold and besides that, you can improvise on the fly.  You’re a Veteran of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world! 

See you on the high ground!        

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