Years ago, while working as a roofing salesman I was asked by the roofing company I was working with to go to Ohio to help them set up a new roofing operation where a recent hailstorm had happened. During my time there, I met a handful of storm chasers that had come from different parts of the country to work this hail storm. I connected with one individual, in particular, that was a bit older than I and had been in the business much longer. I recognized right away that he knew what he was doing.
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
A mentor is somebody whom I look up to and whose knowledge, experience and values I respect. Someone whom I look to for guidance and can bounce ideas off of and Someone whom I can look to for honest feedback from. It’s important for you to decide what you want to look for in a mentor. One of the most important things I learned as a young entrepreneur was; if you surround yourself with successful people, you will become successful.
Starting out I had no idea what organized networking was. I thought networking was just randomly meeting and connecting with people, or making friends. I didn’t know how to network, or where to find a group of likeminded business people to network with.
Networking is meeting and exchanging information with one person or with a group of individuals for the purpose of cultivating productive business relationships. Usually, networking takes place face to face, but with today’s technology, you can network with people all over the country, or even all over the world. There are many different organized networking groups, from chambers of commerce to small industry-specific mastermind groups.
There are do’s and don’ts when you are in a networking group. Here are a few things I learned that should help you make the most of your networking experience. Do give information, help others, show up on time, communicate when given leads, and show up looking professional representing your company in the best possible way. Don’t talk about politics, give sales pitches (nobody wants to hear a sales pitch), show up late, not show up at all, or burn any bridges.