Whether you’re a master networker or you’re new to networking, we all face challenging situations at times, and sometimes we need to rely on the help and encouragement of others.
I’m a big believer in learning to rely on the people who respect, admire and love you. Theirs are the purest motives for helping you. They are genuinely interested in you, mostly accept you as you are and will usually do whatever they can to help you achieve any goal. They may not have all the knowledge or information you need or the ability to bring you new clients, but if you direct their willing efforts, they can give you emotional, spiritual, physical or financial support.
The gift of time can be a valuable resource. Members of your network’s support component can help you at crucial times in your business. They can perform essential tasks, lend you money, encourage you, work for you, help you deal with an emergency, serve as a sounding board for your ideas, even fill in for you for a couple of hours. To make the most of this resource, learn about the talents, knowledge, and contacts these friends and supporters have to offer.
CATEGORIZE YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK MEMBERS
1. YOUR MENTORS
People who are or have been your mentors genuinely believe in you, care about you and your success, and can be counted on for honest feedback and encouragement.
2. PEOPLE YOU HAVE TAUGHT OR MENTORED
These people are usually excited to hear from you and will remind you of how much they appreciate your support. They also open doors to business opportunities by constantly spreading positive word of mouth about you.
3. PEOPLE YOU HAVE HELPED
People remember people who have done something for them. Can you identify people to whom you have donated money, time or other gifts? Most will go out of their way to support you.
4. YOUR CO-WORKERS, COLLEAGUES, ASSOCIATES AND CLASSMATES
Friends you have made in the course of your schooling and career are often friends for life. You know, like and respect each other. Of course, you may be reluctant to call upon a friend for help because you don’t want to admit you need it. But don’t let your ego get in the way; use these sources. A true friend will be eager to help and will not think any less of you, nor make you feel diminished for asking.
5. YOUR FAMILY AND CLOSE FRIENDS
You may take your family and personal friends for granted, but they are perhaps your most reliable source of support. Don’t ignore them. Keep in mind, however, that some may be more reliable than others.
6. OTHER MEMBERS OF NONBUSINESS GROUPS
People you have worked with outside of business–members of neighborhood watch groups, apartment associations, community youth programs–may be willing to support you in activities outside the group’s normal scope. Join, participate, donate generously of your time, and let others help you in your endeavors.
7. YOUR FORMER MANAGERS, SUPERVISORS AND INSTRUCTORS
These people are often familiar with your work habits, ethics, values, character abilities and interests. They know what it takes to get you to perform at your highest level. Often, like surrogate parents, they feel responsible for your success. Should you take advantage of this parental instinct? Of course!
8. YOUR CHURCH LEADERS, MEMBERS AND GROUPS
If you belong to a religious organization, you are bonded to others through a shared faith. It would be a mistake not to seek the backing of your church leaders and other members. If on occasion you need them, don’t hesitate to use the church’s support services and groups.