Are you a social entrepreneur? Do you want to do something good and scale it up? Then you should learn from nature and increase your network channels’ usage and networking skills. Networking needs to become one of your main activities. Because this is the natural way on how things work very well and complexity can be coordinated.
Just think about the incredible, complex human body and brain functions:
“Neurons love company. The very basis of thought, feeling, and behavior is the passage of electrical signals from one to another; these circuits organize into increasingly complex structures …the human brain is a network of networks, an integrated system of stupefying complexity that somehow coordinates the operations of billions of units. From simple sensorimotor functions like the perception of a flash …to complex cognitive operations like rational deliberation that balances memory, moral judgment, and imagination, mental life grows out of connectivity.” (Taken from article/related material mentioned below).
Let’s assume you/your local business corresponds to the single neuron or well defined bundle of neurons which can effect the surroundings. You have started to contribute, to change, to gain impact with what you do. But how to scale up? How can you go ‘across the borders’?
The real impact, the approach which leads to a huge change comes when you make your idea, your social business a part of a complex structure.
One essential part is how you communicate and network.
Some business owner think that they do networking by setting up a website and go to a few conferences. Or by publishing some press releases, mostly in local journals.
This is a good starting point. You use some offline and online channels for informing about what you do. But among million websites and hundred of thousands things, how should the right people find you, if not by chance? You want to scale up? You need to reach people who are not located where you are, who are involved in different areas, who live in other parts of your country or continent.
So, networking via different social channels is essential for getting known and connect.
Networking is much more than just a contact. It’ s about getting the emotional buy-in:
- try do understand first where your contact partner is – in terms of aims and goals – what are his/her main issues and where is the common contact point.
- do not overlad with push information, but make him/her a relevant contact by pulling knowledge, experience and information, too
- talk with your customers and clients, not just to them,
- show openness to discuss and innovative ways
- don’t expect everyone to get it
- create a story around your business
- Even friendly audiences need to be won over – why not make them laugh from time to time, especially if they do not have an urgent need to support you. An emotional buy-in can really help.
- learn from each other across local borders.
- look for surprising connections, and find the right partner you can network with for increasing your social business impact.”
- focus by elaborating your key messages and coordinate where possible and
- use social media channels to reach stakeholders and customers you would never meet in daily life. With the respective knowledge on how to use them in the best way.
This may take some time from you now and require to go 2 steps back, but you will gain the right knowledge and connectivity for doing at least 10 steps straight forward.
If you like this post, I would appreciate your feedback.
I will post some more thoughts on the items listed in the next days.
Connectivity—A Primer: http://www.dana.org/media/detail.aspx?id=40790
Seth Godin on the 3 Essential Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Cultivate