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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Combat a Slow Economy

Don't join the ranks of miserable complainers. Instead, use this time to improve your networking skills.

Entrepreneur Magazine
By Ivan Misner   |   June 17, 2002   |   Comment
Q: When the economy is slow, new business is harder to get. What can I do to build my business in a recessionary economy?
A: …While you cannot control the economy or your competition, you can control your response to the economy. Referrals can keep your business alive and well during an economic downturn.

During the last recession, I watched thousands of business owners grow and prosper. They were successful because they consciously made the decision to refuse to participate in the recession. They did so by developing their networking skills and learning how to build their business through word-of-mouth. You can do the same during a slow economy by:
  1. Diversifying your networks. You need breadth and depth. Participate in different kinds of groups.
  2. Refusing to be a "cave-dweller." Be visible. Get out there and meet people at business events.
  3. Learning how to work the meetings you attend. It's not called "net-sit" or "net-eat," it's called "network." Learn networking systems and techniques that apply to the different kinds of organizations you attend.
  4. Being prepared. Prepare effective introductions and presentations to give to other business professionals at networking events and meetings.
  5. Developing your contact spheres. These are a groups of business professionals who have a symbiotic or compatible, noncompetitive relationship with you.
  6. Knowing your goal. Perhaps most important, understand that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It's about building relationships with other businesspeople.
Don't let a bad economy be your excuse for failure. Instead, make it your opportunity to succeed. It's not what you know or who you know, it's how well you know people that counts. In a tough economy, it's your social capital that has value. Make good use of it, and you'll thrive while others struggle.

Ivan Misner is founder and Chairman of BNI, a professional business networking organization headquartered in Upland, Calif. Dubbed the "father of modern networking" by CNN, Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.
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