I’m a huge believer that a person’s network can help them in almost everything they do in life. And specifically in helping you grow your business. I’ve blogged about the topic of networking over time, like the 6 keys to being a great networker post that I wrote a few years back, but I’ve never talked about my philosophy for networking for business leaders.
One tried and true rule that I give to anyone leading a company is what I call the 15 Meetings Rule. The idea is simple: make sure you average at least 15 meetings a week.
Here are the rules:
- The meetings must have the potential to be “business growing”. Could be with existing clients, prospective clients or partners, or other well-networked people. Having coffee with your friend from church, who works on a farm, does not count. Unless you’re in the farming business, I suppose.
- At least 75% of the meetings need to be in person. The more in person, the better.
- You DO NOT have to talk business at these meetings. Building your network is more about the long-term relationships than it is trying to close a sale every time you meet with someone.
That’s it! Three meetings a day (on average) shouldn’t be that difficult, and honestly, I think 20+ is a better number.
There are also side benefits to this, including forcing leaders to get outside of the four walls of their office so that they can spend time thinking about the business, so that their teams can learn to function without them, etc. But the real benefit is to start building your network so that, years later, its a thriving, critical component of how you grow your business.