Let me buy you a coffee

Earlier this month, I was talking to a mentor about improving the visibility of my public speaking coaching business, which has largely dropped off a cliff since I first came to London nearly a year ago. When I was in Oxford, I attended multiple evening events each week, constantly growing my network in a positive feedback loop of advice from aspiring investors and entrepreneurs.

When I came to London, I quickly got swamped with work, commuting and the general feeling of being overwhelmed which I imagine comes with every major move to a new city. After months of feeling like everything I’d worked so hard to achieve in Oxford was being left behind, I decided to break my networking goals into bite-sized chunks.

I refreshed my LinkedIn profile, filled my wallet with business cards, started being more active in networking groups and forums and made a conscious effort every week to reach out to individuals who I could take out for coffee or speak to for thirty minutes. Although many of these individuals would ignore my messages, many others seemed happy to share their knowledge with someone who was making an effort to learn from them.

By fitting these actions into my weekly routine, I reduced the difficulty involved and made it more likely that I’d carry out the actions needed to continue growing my network. If I managed to set up a call or arrange just a single meeting every week, I’d have had an extra four meetings each month. Compared to where I was at the start of the exercise, this was a great improvement and wasn’t taking too much effort to pursue.

No matter how simple it seemed, I knew that I had to keep up the effort, and decided to make it as ‘essential’ to my weekly routine as exercise and eating. No matter what day of the week it was, I was determined to be prepared with good questions, professional business cards and an open attitude.

I also concentrated on maintaining that focus on small wins – reminding myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ (as much of a cliché as it might be). Instead of focusing on what wasn’t working, I tried to focus on what I could do to refine and improve the process to help drive progress towards my overall goal of developing my network.

One thing I quickly realised when I was setting up meetings, I needed to have a clearly defined reason for doing so. For example “I want to get to know them better because they’re a successful property investor. I can ask for advice and introductions to sources of funding to further expand my own portfolio”.

By maintaining this focus and methodical persistence, I began to rebuilt my network and my drive to grow my business. If you’re interested in pursuing a networking opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact me through this website, or my LinkedIn.

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