If you’re a business owner, you know how important it is to market yourself.
But how do you do it?
Do you work smart and concentrate your efforts on reaching the maximum amount of people in the minimum amount of time?
Or have you been led to believe that face-to-face networking is the only way to make those valuable connections?
While face-to-face networking can be useful in forging connections, networking with the same people week after week is not a good use of your time. Many business owners out there attend weekly business networking meetings, which by the time you factor in travel time, meeting time, and chatting-after-the-meeting time can easily account for 4-5 hours of your week.
That’s 4-5 hours of your week to speak and mix with the same people you did the week before, the month before, and the year before.
Attending because it’s part of your social network is one thing, but if you’re telling yourself that it’s to grow your business, you may need to rethink your approach because that 4-5 hours of your week could be better spent growing your business more effectively, with time to spare for yourself.
Remember the figure of 4-5 hours because we’ll come back to that a bit later on.
Costs you money
As well as costing you time, business networking can cost you money. Have you ever stopped to consider how much it ‘costs’ you to be a member of a networking group? As well as the yearly fee that many of them have, it costs you money every week. For example, if your hourly rate is $100, attending the meeting will cost you $300 (plus money for food and drinks, etc.).
You’ll either write this time off, or you’ll end up working longer hours to make up for the time that you spent at the networking event. Either way, you’re spending time and money, for very little return, because by speaking to the same people week in, week out, you’re not going to build your business network very quickly.
You increase your stress levels
Let’s face it, networking can be stressful. Making conversations with people you don’t know has its own set of stress. But even meeting with the same people week after week adds stress to your life, because it’s just one extra thing you need to fit into your already busy schedule, and there is very little return on this time investment.
And when you’re a busy business owner, who is raising a family, you really don’t have much spare time to spend on things that won’t get you more business.
Less time for your family
However, if you’re like most people and feel that this is the only way to build your business, you’ll continue to do it, despite the amount of stress it causes. The early starts, and the late nights will begin to eat into your family time. Your relationship with your partner will suffer, and you’ll have less time to spend with your kids.
These longer hours will also mean that you’ll compromise your sleep, which will leave you feeling tired and unfocussed, meaning you’re less productive during your work day, which may lead to even longer work hours. Before you know it, you’ll be parenting from the sidelines because you’ll lack the energy and time you need to fully invest into your kids’ lives, and you’ll be missing all the important milestones.
And don’t forget that sleep is an important factor in successfully losing weight and changing your body shape.
No time for your health
Constantly attending business networking meetings will also compromise your health and lead to weight gain. Because you lack time and energy, you won’t be able to fit regular exercise into your weekly schedule. You’ll find yourself reaching for easy take-away instead of prepping healthy meals, and the food and alcohol you end up drinking at these events will also add to your calorie intake.
Many business owners find that while they build their business, they end up forgetting about themselves, and let their health and mental wellbeing spiral downwards, simply because they can’t find the time to invest in themselves. Their poor health and extra weight, then leads to a lack of confidence, which makes it even harder for them to move out of their comfort zone and do something different. So instead, they continue on the same business networking treadmill, unsure of what else they can do, and too afraid to do anything differently.
All up, this leads to an unfulfilled life. Even if you have a thriving business, your relationship, family life, and health have all been forgotten, and before you know it, you feel stuck and unsure of how to get out of the rut you’ve created for yourself.
You’re living in fear
The solution to your problems actually lies in confronting your fears. Be honest. The reason you continue to engage in business networking even though you’re not actually connecting with new leads is because it’s comfortable and familiar, and doing anything new is scary.
However, if you network differently and harness the power of social media you can reach thousands of potential customers in a fraction of the time.
So why don’t you? Afterall, you’ve seen other business owners marketing more on social media.
Because you’re afraid. And instead of admitting you’re afraid, you disguise this fear as practicality.
“I don’t know how to use Instagram or Facebook.”
“I’m not tech savvy.”
“It’s not really for me.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“I value my privacy.”
However, the real reason you’re afraid to embrace technology and conduct a different kind of business networking is because you’re afraid to be seen.
You’re afraid that people will judge you, especially when they see how you’ve let yourself go.
You’re afraid that people will laugh at you.
You’re afraid of making a mistake and looking like a fool.
You’re afraid that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say.
You’re afraid that you’ll lose customers if they see who’s behind your business.
Being seen for who you are and where you are, scares the living daylights out of you. But instead of confronting your fear, you continue to hide and do comfortable things, even though it’s costing you money, your health, your family, your relationships and your life.
You’re mixing with others who are trapped by their fears
If you continue to engage in face-to-face networking because you’re afraid to do anything else, chances are that the other people you’re mixing with are also afraid of the same thing. That means that you’ll never be challenged to grow and overcome your fears. Instead, you’ll justify this type of business building because ‘everyone else is doing the same’. While it may keep you feeling comfortable, it won’t help you achieve rapid business growth.
But what if you could get over your fears, and embrace social media? What if you could work smarter, instead of harder, and reach more customers in less time, at less cost?
Remember those 4-5 hours we talked about earlier? This is how you could use them, and still have time to build your business.
- Including regular exercise in your week. At Imani Tribe, we spend no more than 3% of our week exercising, and we make sure it’s the right exercise that will get the fastest results.
- Prepping healthy food for the whole family, which will also reduce stress, help you lose weight and improve your health.
- Having a date night with your partner, so you can re-connect and keep your relationship strong.
- Spending quality time with your kids, being actively involved in their lives, and having meaningful conversations, instead of parenting from the sidelines.
- Getting a few more hours of sleep, which will make a big difference to your weight loss journey, your energy levels, productivity and business success.
These are just a few examples of how you can use those 4-5 hours each week, to improve your health and your overall quality of life. Imagine what you could do if you currently spend more than 4-5 hours a week on business networking!
But how can you get this time back? Let’s look at two examples.
Joan runs her own graphic design business. Her main marketing strategy is word-of-mouth referrals, so she joins a business networking group. Meetings are held over breakfast every week and she’s expected to attend the meeting every week. There are 25 other members of the group. The annual membership fee is $1,000. On top of that, she pays $25 a week for her breakfast. By the time Joan factors in her travel time, time to attend the meeting and to chat to people before and after, she spends a total of 4 hours of her week in her networking group. Joan’s hourly rate is $120, which means that attending a weekly meeting costs her around $525 every week, by the time she factors in her time, annual membership fee, and cost of breakfast. She’s effectively paying $525 every week, to network with the same 25 people every week, who aren’t necessarily her target audience. If she wants to recoup the $525 she has spent, she needs to work an extra 4.5 hours a week, which means she has no time left to look after her health.
Maggie also has a graphic design business. While she also relies on word-of-mouth referrals, it’s not her primary marketing strategy. Maggie understands that time is money, and has decided not to join a networking group. Instead, she uses the power of social media, knowing that she can reach at least 1000 people with a 2-minute FB live post. How? When her followers ‘like’ this post, comment and share it, this engagement means that FB will continue to show her post, leading to at least 1,000 of her target audience seeing it. Maggie also knows that by using the power of social media, she can connect with her target audience at any time, from anywhere in the world. The more she uses it, the more people she will connect with. If she wants to target her posts to really speak to her niche, she can pay for advertising (which will be far less than the cost of one network meeting), and guarantee she will reach several thousand new people, who are her target audience. By leveraging the power of social media, in combination with word-of-mouth referrals from happy clients, Maggie is able to grow her business substantially, using a fraction of the time and money she would need, if she engaged in the face-to-face networking model. This means that Maggie is more successful, less stressed and has time to spend with her family, and to look after her health.
Looking at the example above, it’s easy to see a strategy that uses the power of social media to targeting the right people is the most time- and cost-efficient way to build a business. The 4 hours saved each week (plus the extra 4.5 hours you need to work in order to make up for the 4 hours of networking time), means that you’ll have plenty of time for business, family, exercise, healthy meal prep and time to relax.
Business networking isn’t bad. In fact, you can make some very useful business contacts when you meet people face-to-face. However, this traditional form of marketing should be used as a subsidy to other forms of marketing. Using it as your primary source of marketing without exploring the modern and more efficient ways of social media, isn’t a great use of your time, and is certainly not effective if you want to reach a wider audience in the shortest amount of time.
By confronting your fears and being willing to be seen, you can reach maximum people in minimum time. However, the truth is, if you don’t keep up and use social media to promote your business, your business will eventually fail, regardless of how successful it is right now. Because if you can’t reach your target audience, it doesn’t matter how good your products or services are.
Obviously, the solution is to overcome your fear of being seen, so you can start to leverage your time better and connect with more of your target audience through social media. But how do you do that?
At Imani Tribe, we help established business owners just like yourself confront their fear of being seen, so they can make more money and save time, which can be spent with their family and improving their health.
In short, we can help you increase your income, and create time to improve your health.