Do you know that social networking can help you to accomplish things in your business life beyond cyber stalking your ex? It’s true. Social networking can actually help you to become rich and successful in your business. You see money and business don’t just magically happen. No matter what the type of business, or the type of market, it takes people to make connections and decisions.
The reality is that increasingly business is happening online. This means that people aren’t getting face to face contact with their clients or vendors. What used to happen on a handshake is now happening via email. So, how do you foster relationships with people that you might never meet?
The answer is with social networking.
Finding Your Niche
It doesn’t matter what your job is, what kind of business you run, or who is in your target market; you can find support online. There are chat rooms, Ning groups, support systems, and websites, for virtually any business you can think of. These groups are going to offer you more than just information on what are the latest and greatest ideas for your business. These sites can offer you a way to connect to other people who will totally understand your business and how it works. Social networking sites can help you find mentors.
Why You Need a Mentor
Having a mentor in business can help you to avoid mistakes and pitfalls. All business owners and entrepreneurs are going to make mistakes. If you have someone to mentor you, you can avoid a lot of those pitfalls by their guiding hand. These people have experience. They have gone through many, if not all, of the things that you are going through; or are going to go through. They have already found ways to work around the system and make their business successful. Why should you re-invent the wheel, when there is a mentor out there that already has the blueprints and is willing to share them with you?
As a business owner and entrepreneur you don’t have a boss to turn to. The entire process of decision making is solely on your shoulders. And the truth is that you might not always know what to do. This is when having a mentor is going to be really helpful. When you get stuck, you can ask their advice and see how they have handled similar situations. You don’t have to do it like they did, but at least you’ll get to see some of the options and how they might work out.
Mentors are free of charge. They are going to help you out because they want to, they are your friend, or you have created a relationship. Mentors can offer you practical advice that isn’t going to cost you. As a new business owner getting help for no money is a great way to go.
Since your mentor has been around the block a few times they are also going to have connections. These connections could come in handy for you down the road. As your mentor sees your strengths and skills they are going to be more likely to refer their contacts to you. If they are too busy to take on another client or project, they might send it your way.
It’s a Two Way Street
Social networking is about being social. When you are involved with an online social networking group for your profession you want to chat with people and make connections. Take time to build relationships and foster friendships. If you sign up for a social networking site in your profession and expect mentors to just start coming out of the woodwork to help you, you will be sadly let down.
Just like any friendship or connection you are going to get from it what you put into it. If you aren’t taking the time to chat or be social you won’t have a lot of people who want to help you or give you advice. Treat social networking like any other part of your business. Devote time to it and schedule it into your day just like you would any other project that you need to get completed.
Don’t expect your mentor to make all of your decisions for you. A mentor isn’t part of your business. They are there to help you and give you perspective, not to run the show. If you expect too much from your mentor, you are likely to lose them as a mentor.
Types of Mentorship
Through social marketing you are going to come across people who are willing to offer several different levels of mentoring. Some mentors will be happy to answer one or two questions that you post on the chat boards. Others will be willing to have a deeper friendship and share not only business advice, but to have personal conversations as well. And there are others who will be willing to hold you accountable to your business goals and plans. These types of mentors will want you to share your business goals with them. They will help you on a regular basis with check-ins and sit down chats. They will want to know what you are doing on a daily basis to reach your goals.
All levels of mentorship are great and will be beneficial for your business, but be clear about what you want before seeking out a social networking mentor. If you just want a place where you can bounce questions off of others, you might be happy with general chat rooms. If you want something more in depth, these relationships are going to take time and effort to develop.
Pay It Forward
As your business grows and you become better equipped to deal with the ups and downs of your business, remember to share your experiences. There will always be new people looking to enter your field. Offer your skills to help those just starting out. Share your knowledge and be a mentor for some other entrepreneur who is just starting out in the business world. This will even give you the opportunity to become a better entrepreneur yourself.