For those of you who are solo or mompreneur you know it can be lonely and isolating at the same time. We are all human and NEED human interaction. Now having said that I have been forcing myself to go to a networking or group gathering at least twice a week. This has been so beneficial. Not only has it gotten me out the house but it has enabled me to increase my knowledge base.
One of the most interesting questions posed was "What does networking mean toYou? Most of us thought it was greeting someone and giving them our card. The answer was a very resounding, NO. That's prospecting, not networking. So Dave Sherman who is an expert in networking and has three books out on the subject stated, "Networking is seeing how you can help someone and how they help You find the person you need to reach. He wanted us to think of how you can help someone else fulfill their need.
So here's my spin.
For me networking is sharing info and looking at my business from another pair of eyes. The sales come when people like you and what you do. You are the brand whether you are using your name or a company name. You are on stage at all times. If people like you they will be a drum major for your business even if they themselves have never used your services. This is why its important to build your relationships, but more importantly your reputation. Your reputation is everything. Guard it with you life.
When you have nothing else keep your reputation as nosebleed high as you can. You're human and will screw up. Don't run from the situation. Own up to it, apologize for it and tell them and try to do better. More, importantly, you go to the person and tell them don't left them "hear it in the street". Last but not least RETURN PHONE CALLS/EMAILS, even if you only saying I can't help you or handle that. You have just upped your credibility with that person. They will remember you, when something you can do comes along.
You want to be in business for the long haul, not the quick buck.