Don’t stop networking, no matter how busy you are

Eight years ago when I moved 90 miles west of Boston, I immediately started networking like a fiend, as I recounted in this earlier post, “Relocating: 3 Ways to fast track your networking in your new home.” And my hard work paid off, although it did take a while to establish myself in a totally new area where I didn’t know a single soul and had to begin at square one.

Then, a couple years ago when things were going really well and I was crazed with work, I did a stupid thing. I stopped networking. I didn’t go to any meet-and-greet opportunities for months. I just kept my nose to the grindstone, thinking the business would just keep rolling in. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But then the recession arrived and my largest client, an investment bank, suddenly hit upon very hard times and could no longer afford to have me write a monthly white paper. And since they had no deals to promote, they didn’t need me to write press announcements either.

Then another, much smaller client, but one that had provided regular business for four years, also dried up with little warning. They were funded by the state, which had its own budget woes and could no longer afford to pay for niceties like newsletters.

All of a sudden, my dance card wasn’t exactly empty, but it definitely had a lot of holes in it. So, it was back to networking for me, and I had to relearn a lesson I already knew but had temporarily forgotten in the year that preceded the recession.

That lesson is to never, ever stop networking, no matter how well your business is going at any given time. The good times can disappear amazingly quickly. Through no fault of your own, customers can suddenly decide to try a new product or a new service provider…or in my case, a new ghostwriter/PR consultant. Or they can hit upon their own hard times, as happened with my two lost clients, and you can suddenly face your own cash flow problem. A new boss can come in and decide to shake things up, including blowing up vendor relationships that have been in place for years.

The reasons business goes south in a hurry are legion and as varied as the types of small businesses out there. But your best defense against all of them is the same: networking and more networking.

Never stop, no matter how flush the times are. Make time for at least some networking activity each month. Meeting new people, being out and about and reminding people you already know that you’re still in business…it’s all valuable and a necessary part of small business success.

1 comment

  1. chris faron says:

    Insightful info Jeanne, I've traveled the same raod, I also made the move from the uk to italy so I had to overcome the language barrier as well..

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