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Focused Networking 101 by Anne McAuley Lopez


This post is submitted by an industry expert and is a part of our guest blog series. To share an expert topic with BRVC blog readers, please email info@brvisionaryconsulting.com.


What is Focused Networking?


As we recover from the pandemic, I've been immersing myself in articles and conversations about how business owners are changing and how they connect with their ideal clients. The messages are clear: We are experiencing focused networking. Whether online or in-person, in meetings, or via video and written content, we're being precise in how we are delivering our business to the world. As a solopreneur and content writer, I am finding creative ways to meet the people with whom I want to work, and here's how I have done it.


When I started my content writing business in 2010, the term social media didn't really exist, much less digital marketing. We were networking with anyone who had a business, asking if they had a Facebook page and if they had considered LinkedIn for business. That was it, That was the pitch. Now we ask questions about their business services and who their target clients are because we want to market where their prospective clients are spending time. It's the same for you and your business.


Focused Networking is sampling spending time with whom and where your target clients are spending time. If your current networking isn't working, then explore new opportunities. Not sure where to start? Here's a guide:


Define your target or ideal client.


You can't know where to network if you don't have an idea of who they are. That doesn't necessarily mean you hire an MBA to create marketing personas, but it might be for larger enterprises. It means thinking about who you loved working with in the past and how you get more of those types of clients in the future. In this way, you are defining where and with whom you will spend time. It may mean re-defining post-pandemic that's okay too.


Assess your networking efforts.


If you see that one person from one group is a great referral source and you've built a relationship with them, then leaving the networking group and taking back that time in your day may have a minimal impact on your business. On the other hand, you may want to leave one group in favor of another. Hybrid or online groups are effective for those of us who have online businesses but for a plumber or real estate agent, for example, they might need to find the right in-person networking to grow their business.


  • How much money are you spending on networking? Include membership as well as meals and extra-curricular activities associated with the groups.

  • How much business are you getting from networking? If it's coming from one source, it might be time to look at other groups.

  • How much time are you spending? If you're driving 30 minutes for an hour meeting, then back to the office, plus one-to-one meetings, it may be time to take back your calendar and figure out where you can better spend that time.


Network with a specific purpose.


Years ago I attended big networking events where we basically handed out our business cards and crossed out fingers in the hopes of someone calling us. I don't do that anymore. Instead, I've defined target clients and industries and focus on them when I go to events. Online groups have been y particularly successful for me because I don't have to search the room to find my people. Instead, I've joined groups for other creatives, where I can easily interact with web designers, branding professionals, and others to partner and build both of our businesses. It takes less time and is more productive.


Embrace change.


I am not one to change anything if my life is working as is but 2020 taught me to be bold and embrace change. If you've wanted to take on a big project or make the ask of a large prospective client, or something else, do it! Now I don't mean to jump in without researching or assessing how it may affect your business and life. I mean explore that big idea that you've always wanted to do. For me, it is creating targeted content for my website, embracing opportunities, writing for other websites, and writing a book, It's a lot but little by little, I am accomplishing my goals.


Take a chance.


If 2020 taught us anything, it's that life can change on a dime so make life happen today. Find new people who are in a related industry and partner with them on a project. Make a referral list of your favorite businesses and encourage your cohort to do the same. You can make more happen than you think when you focus networking on what matters most to you.



 

Anne McAuley Lopez, Blogging Badass at Agency Content Writer

For more than a decade, Anne McAuley Lopez has been a professional writer focused on small and medium-sized businesses. In September 2020, she launched Agency Content Writer which is focused on creating content for digital marketing agency clients. Specialties include writing for financial services, real estate, home services, travel, and legal service clients. She was recently featured in Trendsetters, Wrangler News, Chandler Arizonan, Elephant Journal, and Thrive Global. A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BA in Economics, she found a love of words from an early age and made her passion a business. She recently launched a book writing project which will be a guide for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) patients and their families. Anne can be reached at anna@agencycontentwriter.com, her website Agency Content Writer, and LinkedIn.








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