Do You Know Your Objectives in Networking?

Networking is Much More Than Socializing

Casual networkers view networking as a form of socializing without focus and without goals. Effective networkers view it as a process of relationship building with very clear goals and objectives.

Business networking, like any other business activity, must be a productive use of time. To maximize your networking effectiveness, you should therefore clearly define your goals and objectives.

Following are some of the most common objectives for business networkers:

Broaden your exposure in the marketplace and create a positive impression on as many people in your business community as possible.

Identify those who might be prospects for your products or services

Build relationships with those who offer products or services that might be of value to you or your clients.

Build relationships with those who might become referral or strategic partners.

Build relationships with those who are influential in your business community.

Build relationships with those who can further your career.

Build relationships with those who might provide business counsel or become advisors or mentors.

Those with whom you network are experts in their fields. They can answer questions about their area of specialization, share their business experience and knowledge, and may in some instances become mentors. No one can know all there is to know about business and the advice of others can at times be extremely valuable. Networking at trade association expos and conferences will allow you to meet executives from other companies who might some day be your employer or be able to recommend you for an opening they have heard about. Earning the respect of those in your local community can lead to offers when positions become available. We have all heard the idiom: “It is not what you know, it is who you know that counts.” Building relationships with the most influential members of your business community is a key to your success.

Referral partners are individuals who are able and willing to send you referrals in exchange for your help sending referrals to them. To find them at a networking event, you must have carefully thought through who the best referral partners for you might be. You must also have a strategy for turning a casual meeting into an opportunity to develop the relationship. As a business person you and the firm for which you work have needs for a wide variety of products and services. Networking is an effective way of meeting those who provide these products and services in your local community. Your customers also need a variety of products or services for business and personal use. If you can direct them to reputable providers of those services, you will be more valued as a resource and their loyalty will be enhanced. Keeping your client’s needs in mind as you meet others at networking events, should be a habit you develop.

Most view this as the primary objective of networking. To identify prospects and create sales opportunities, you must be prepared to describe your business and its benefits clearly and succinctly. You must also be ready to qualify “suspects” and, if necessary, present your Unique Selling Proposition. The goal of an initial networking contact is not to close a deal, it is to create a follow up opportunity. Networking is an extremely effective way of creating awareness in your business community. For many start up companies, it is the only form of marketing that can be afforded. Fortunately, networking can also be the most effective form of marketing available.

Most business professionals view networking as a means of marketing their business, but overlook some of the other objectives that may be equally or even more important. Too much emphasis on selling at networking events can leave a negative impression. If you want to make a positive impression, make sure the discussion centers on them, not you.

What goals and objectives have you set for your networking activities? Which are most important? How will you measure your success? Like any other business activity, you must approach your networking with goals and a plan to achieve them.

Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.

Pros and Cons of Managed Services

Today, there are lots of business companies which prefer to tie up with any third party company to get support on IT related chores. You can rely on the managed services for technological outsourcing as this is regarded as one of the best model for the vendors and also for the outsourcing organizations if you have a business and want to expand it overnight. Use of technology is increasing at every sector. Earlier, the organizations used calendars and various physical components to carry on their job. Now-a-days, the competition is becoming very serious. You can’t afford to miss any chance to progress. Therefore, the third party companies are coming ahead to provide help on maintaining proper infrastructure of the organization. Before relying on such company you must know the pros and cons of such services.

Pros of Managed Services

Every business organization has huge burden of expanding the business now and then. They have to make strategies and proper game plans and execute those effectively. Therefore, it becomes difficult to do all necessary services by themselves or contact manage services providers to take up the responsibilities on behalf of them.

The advantages of these services are-

1. Favorable Maintenance Infrastructure- Primarily, managed hosting companies put a number of best choices and effective performances in a nutshell. It becomes challenging for the companies to choose from their myriad set of applications. But one thing is sure that if a company hires such services, it will get well-integrated result within time. They always keep you updated, mange without any dispute and offer different level of agreements which entrust you with efficient availability.

2. Cost Effective- Have you ever thought how much do you need to invest for buying new server or organizing interview sessions to appoint recruits to host a single set of work? It is always more than contacting managed service providers. Why to spend unnecessarily while you can have the benefits of these services?

3. Easy Installation- In the competitive market of business, time is money. If you can’t run faster you’ll be lagged behind. Managed services providers always keep you in the run. They can be deployed very fast and take less time to function immediately and meet new demands.

4. Expert Monitoring- The administrative department has other assignments to complete. So, it is not possible to watch over the network hardware and servers. If the IT department of a company utilize MSP, it will be easier to monitor technological performances on the basis of 24*7.

Cons of Managed Services

1. Instability- There are certain disadvantages of MSP. Actually, when an organization depends upon these services, they assume that the business will hike a lot. If the Managed Service Provider fails to meet the need of the organization, they are the one to be blamed. Such incidents can hamper their reputation.

2. Huge Pressure- It is natural that an organization may not get positive result from a MSP. When they switch to another, they have huge expectations from the new third party organization.

Overall, it can be said that managed services providers are full of benefits for any type of business organizations. If you are expanding your business, take help from them and do your chores without any tension.

Work From Home, Online Employment

Working from home on the internet provides users with the convenience and job security they require. A home job that is done on the internet can be what you need to get you started on a career path that will lead to job satisfaction and success in every sense of the word. Building a successful online business takes time, hard work and some investment capital, though more time investment may remove the need for capital investment. The good thing about online businesses is that anybody can develop one and be a success in it without any qualification or heavy capital investment. An online job should be taken seriously if meaningful progress is to be made in good time. Online jobs are numerous and can be grouped into three categories which include; skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs.

Skilled jobs: basically, a skilled job is one that requires a certain level of skill and certification to accomplish. Skilled jobs are for individuals who have acquired a high level of expertise in order to be able to carry out the duties required of such tasking jobs. These jobs may only be given to those who have the qualifications and the much needed experience that such jobs require for effective and satisfactory results to be obtained. Performance for certain skilled jobs online is at a very high level based on the job description. Certifications for many skilled jobs are acquired offline by attending educational institutions. Some skilled jobs can also be learned and certification given online after a mandatory learning process and examination has been passed. Examples of some skilled job services that are provided for online customers include; web designing; website security; professional services such as stock brokering and ecommerce services; program writing and networking among others.

Semi-skilled jobs: these are jobs that may or may not require certification for one to be able to accomplish. Semi-skilled service providers may be required to have a certain level of qualification in some quarters but may not need to have any qualification in others. Most semi-skilled jobs can be learned and certification provided for those who have passed online. Examples of semi-skilled jobs online include search engine optimization, copywriting and secretarial skills among others.

Unskilled jobs: these are job descriptions that can be done by anyone without any prior certification. Most online jobs are in the unskilled category and you do not need any qualifications to become a service provider. The vast majority of service providers in the unskilled category learn these jobs and become experts by continuously providing their services to customers. This is the main reason why the internet is seen as a very good avenue to develop a viable business. Unskilled jobs require little or no income to start practicing and in a very short period, depending on your work rate, you can earn considerable amounts of money from them. Almost every internet business has a link with an unskilled job description which makes it possible for everyone to benefit from providing any kind of service on the internet. Examples of unskilled jobs that have their roots on the internet include article writing, link building, blogging, lead generation and social networking among others.

The internet is a user friendly environment that helps a lot of people all over the world develop certain basic skills and earn a substantial living. Whether your skilled, semi- skilled or unskilled, there is a place for you in the online business world.