How to NetworkAs an entrepreneur you may hear a lot about networking and wonder what all the hubbub is about. Networking, both online and off, is a wonderful way to build connections in your industry. It’s a great way to increase awareness for your business and to build your customer base and ultimately your profits. And you probably know that already. What you may not know is networking is also a great way to motivate yourself.

Networking exposes you to other business leaders, entrepreneurs and motivated individuals. Even if you don’t have a single competitive bone in your body, when you network online and offline, you’re going to be inspired by the energy, ideas and productivity you see in those around you. It’s actually a great reality check.

It gives you the unique ability to mingle with like-minded individuals who may have a different perspective, a different experience or a different story than you do and have achieved success.

Networking also forces you to stay on your game. If you’re putting forth the effort to network, and it’s recommended that you do, you’re going to have to be at your best. When you communicate with people, you want to put your best foot forward and make a positive impression. When people ask you what you do, you want to be ready, willing and able to give them an informational and inspirational elevator pitch.

Because you just never know when you’re going to meet your next great business partner, a superior customer or one of those coveted Paul Revere types of individuals who spreads news faster than CNN. Meet a Paul Revere type of individual, get them excited about your business, and you’ve just launched your business into a whole new game.

Networking is usually a scheduled event, so it accomplishes two things. It motivates you to be prepared before you head to the website or event. And it makes you put some serious thought into how you present yourself both online and off. Networking forces you to think about your business, where it’s going, what your future plans are, and how you want to be perceived.

For most people, networking with other successful people inspires their competitive spirit. We see other successful people and think, “If they can do that, so can I.” We hear great ideas, product launches, marketing tactics and business strategies and we think, “I can do that better than they did!” or “I wonder if I can achieve more sales and profits than that?” Competition is very motivating!

Finally, networking both online and off (though online networking can be done in your pajamas with unruly hair and unbrushed teeth) makes us feel and act more professionally. Though there are some people who forget that and behave badly online and off. For the most part, the simple act of being a professional makes us feel more professional. We start to feel less like a person who works at home in their pajamas and more like a business person, an entrepreneur, a CEO.

Kimberly Design Love