Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Erika Garrett, currently a Registered Marriage & Family Therapist Intern, who is in the works of launching her private practice, Alcove Therapy! She is extremely passionate about people and is a helper at heart. She states that her true calling is working with individuals, families, and couples to explore their circumstance, envision new possibilities and embrace growth.
“Erika, what lead you into the business you are in now?”
Erika shared, “we all come into this business because it starts with home, family dynamics and wanting to learn more about our relationships and how to best help others.” While launching her business, Alcove Therapy, she realized that she was not experienced in entrepreneurship or becoming a business owner. In an effort to prepare herself for the journey ahead, she devoted 2015 to building her network and supports. From there she joined our very own K2 Visionaries as the Client Relations Extraordinaire and learned quickly within the Mental Health Profession the deficit in the value of networking. She stated, “Networking and Social Capitalism is becoming the New Era of Society”.
“What is the best advice you have ever received that relates to being an entrepreneur?”
She brought us to the famous quote by Nelson Mandela –
“Action without vision is only passing time, Vision without action is merely day dreaming, But vision with action can change the world.”
She expounded by saying that everything you do in this field is about “who can we reach?” and “how can we change their lives?” With that being said, Erika believes that networking is the first step in doing that – it’s not about you, it's about them.
Here are Erika’s 7 Tips to Networking!
Have a goal and know your audience -Do your research: Make sure the group/event is worth your time and will be useful/beneficial to you -If you are looking for something new – take a chance/risks you may have the opportunity to make friends of friends; who never know who is in their network -Create a strategy: How often will you attend networking events? What are your needs (personal/business)? How many connections do you want to make (set a quota; starting small builds confidence)?
Utilize your time; every moment spent counts -Craft your conversations –have a standard opener -Ask yourself: Why should they care? Be specific about you -Are you an AM or PM person? When do you show up as your best? Find recharge time; resist the urge to be in constant “on” mode! -Make the time favorable!
It’s about building relationships -Be yourself and remind yourself everyone is uncomfortable, so no need to get caught up in your discomfort: Embody warmth, curiosity and generosity -Do not “work” the room handing out tons of business cards rather focus on making solid relationships -Remember it’s about them not you: How can you add value to them? What brings you here? What are looking for today, maybe I can help? -Always introduce yourself to the organizer of the event
Don’t spread yourself too thin -You will be building your brand from scratch every time -The idea is to build relationships, so try to become a regular -If you are new to networking, it may help to start small
Resources and Marketing -Always have in your mindset how can this benefit me; remember you are trying to build resources for yourself as well -Always have marketing tools available -Rule of thumb: if you haven’t built enough rapport with them don’t offer your card -Assure your resources are credible, credibility is everything
Follow up -After you make a connection, be sure to feed that connection *How? Send an email, send a handwritten card, etc. -Don’t reach out only when you need something, reach out just because. Check in with people to say hello, show personal interest. -Take notes on their business card, you always want to make sure to connect back to the experience -Share and connect on Social Media
Treat networking like a puzzle -Draw connections between who you know and who you meet -Connect with the super-connectors… According to the book, Tipping Point, there are always those who know everyone and can fill the gap -Asking for favors builds connections… According to Benjamin Franklin! *Research says it can actually strengthen a bond *Rule of Thumb: Give two favors, before asking for one *Ask yourself what can you do for someone that is a small commitment for you, but a large benefit to them
Bonus: Feeding your connections and weighing your odds -If you were to lose your job, who would be the individuals you would ask for advice? Enrich those relationships. -Look back at the past 3 months, who in your surroundings are you not happy with the influence/value they bring to you? -If you are scared to connect/network, start by reconnecting within dormant relationships. Perhaps through Social Media.