Kerryn Powell, The Network Catalyst and founder of Your Time Matters knows the importance of business networking to business success. Kerryn believes good networking comes down to commandments that business owners can employ for business success.
Kerryn's 10 Commandments of Business Networking are based on common sense rules focused on developing strong relationships, that focus on others and helping them achieve what matters to them.
Focus on making a difference by:
1. Listening more than you speak and not bore others by talking about your own business at nauseum. Be interested in finding out why they do what they do.
2. Look out for opportunities for others to build their business by connecting them with your network of trusted advisers.
3. Focus on establishing relationships founded on knowing, liking and trusting others to establish a reliable network.
4. Regularly attend the networking events that focus on building relationships and contribute your experience and knowledge without expecting anything in return.
5. Move out of your comfort zone and meet face to face to strengthen networking instinct.
6. Be accountable for your actions at all times and recognise that Networking requires you to put in effort and not just sit back and expect business to come to you.
7. Follow up and follow through when you offer assistance.
8. Recognise that it is up to you to achieve your desired results.
9. Be authentic, honest and provide value.
10. Think of beyond yourself – enhance opportunities to generate business for your suppliers, clients, referrers and friends.
Kerryn says "Simply by sharing knowledge, experience, resources and expertise you can make a difference. Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, suppliers, referrers and friends, rather than focusing on "selling" products and services, can help you to build a strong network that results in both personal and professional satisfaction."
In Kerryn's book, "Two Ears, One Mouth and a Big Heart" Kerryn shares stories of local heroes and how they can influence and change our approach to building a supportive network, both personally and professionally by reflecting on how you like to network and "do to others as you would have them do to you".
Question: What is business networking?
Kerryn Powell: Business networking is an effective way to market your business and to meet the suppliers, referrers, clients and friends to help you grow your business. It is an important strategy to apply as when we connect with others, to build know, like and trust we can establish profitable relationships, explore new opportunities and develop relationships that will that support us.
Business networking is about establishing relationships to accelerate your business success – it is not about "sales" but can definitely lead to sales if done properly.
Question: Why is it crucial to a business to master the skill of networking?
Kerryn Powell: People like to do business with people, and specifically people, they know, like and trust. Business Networking allows for the engagement and interaction with others so that connections can to be developed.
Networking is also an effective tool and offers much more than lead generation.
You can benefit from networking by using it to:
find out what people are looking for
use the stage to practice your WHY
rehearse your point of difference
check the ongoing relevance of your business model
gain feedback on a new aspect of your offer
identify the right problems your business seek to solve
seek out collaborators
test your pricing model and how to convert interest to action
observe and adapt to styles/personalities of others
practice how to enter and exit conversations
learn how others choose to follow up
learn who the influencers are in your community
find out what is happening in your community
Question: What is the first step to successful networking within business?
Kerryn Powell: The very first step is to be very clear about how and who you can help and know your own value. What pain point is that you can solve and for whom.
Question: At what types of events is business networking crucial?
Kerryn Powell: If you are in business or are seeking employment then you MUST get out and network. The power of word-of mouth and "who do you know who…?" will open doors and opportunities more cost effectively, than advertising your services or answering an advertisement on an employment website where hundreds of people respond for the one job or provide a similar service or product.
People attend networking events for a variety of reasons. It is also important to remember that events attract a variety of audiences. Some networking events have no clear purpose, others are purely focussed on transactions and referrals, and others provide education and an opportunity to learn new skills and transform your thinking and business.
If you are going to truly invest in networking as an opportunity to grow your business then you need to decide on your real intent for choosing the events you attend. Then make a plan based clearly on your intention, whether it is solely to
• build the right relationships
• have the right conversations
• generate leads
• gain knowledge
• and, achieve a real return on your networking time, or a combination of the above.
Being clear on who you seek to add to your network is imperative. What are you seeking to build – a strategic network, a referral network, an operational network or a personal network? The right conversations and investing your time in nurturing relationships is how you will benefit.
Question: Can you tell us about your book, Two Ears, One Mouth and a Big Heart?
Kerryn Powell: My book was released in early May and is available via my website- www.kerryn-powell.com.au and www.yourtimematters.com.au. It is a book takes us back to basics. It reminds us of the power of real-time relationships and face-to-face conversations for creating success and fulfilment.
I pull back the covers on my own journey and desire to be a catalyst for change by connecting people and amplifying their impact on others. Demonstrating my message of 'giving to gain',
As I share powerful stories of many local heroes who have been inspired to make a change.
Divided into three sections – Learn, Grow, Achieve – and covering themes such as Clarity, Focus and Courage, you are invited to learn from the experience of others and then reflect on your own values and viewpoints.
With over 30 years of working as an agent and catalyst for change, I want to remind ourselves that we have two ears for listening, one mouth for sharing and a big heart for engaging with others. When we remember this, we are open to endless possibilities: following our own purpose and dreams as well as the opportunity to help others with theirs.
Starting a ripple effect begins now. Don't wait for a better time… because your time matters.
Question: What inspired you to write Two Ears, One Mouth and a Big Heart?
Kerryn Powell: I have met and connected with many inspiring people throughout my life and believe that the conversations have allowed me to gain knowledge and experience that can help others and give purpose to our lives.
One key factor is having been to over 40 funerals, I have realised that relationships are key and the impact of those relationships lives on and can make a difference.
I heard a webinar in 2016 by Karen Gunton who wrote Lighthouse Revolution… it was her prompting that encouraged me to want to shine a light on what I think s important in our lives. It took me quite some time to get my thoughts together, and find the time to put into getting my knowledge and learnings onto paper, but with a supportive network and many inspiring stories to tell of people I have connected with, it was time.
Question: Are you able to tell us about The Network Catalyst and Your Time Matters?
Kerryn Powell: A catalyst is a person or thing that causes change. I have created change for many people by listening to their stories, having conversations about what drives them and having a desire to help them to achieve what matters to them. I do not think networking is something only done at events. It is a life skill we all need to develop and it allows us to gain a sense of fulfilment if we can make a difference to others, it is possible to make your time really matter.
Question: What inspired the creation of Your Time Matters?
Kerryn Powell: Originally Your Time Matters was a service based business with a tag "Do what you do best and delegate the rest to us", I recognised how busy life is and how we all can do with support. As the business evolved the tag changed to "Finding solutions for your business and lifestyle…" where I began to focus more on helping small businesses complete projects and add value to their service. During this time, I attended a lot of networking events but found that I often left feeling unfilled and if I had wasted time and that people spoke to me because I had an indelible dollar sign on my head. I did not think this was how networks should be built…. So started our own events and have been able to draw on my skills as a teacher, catalyst, community builder and lover of people's stories.
Question: What's a typical day like, for you?
Kerryn Powell: I have a designated office in our home as does my husband who work across the hall from me. My husband is a Business Strategist and Mentor and provides support to the YTM members and other small business owners our skills blend well, he understands the financial aspects and projections of business, whilst I am more creative and manage blogs, social media our website etc.
Our usual day starts with an early morning walk to one of five favourite cafes in the local area and over coffee we will often discuss the meetings and plans for the day. On return we go our separate ways, but regularly are bouncing ideas and strategies about… not only for Your Time Matters, but how best to move forward and advise our network, or thinking through the best connections we can offer.
Typical days are a mixture of marketing our coming events online via social media, writing blogs, dating our website and listing events. I meet up face to face or via a zoom call with potential clients and speakers who can add value to the events we run. I also will participate on webinars and attend live workshops… not only for my own growth but to find presenters who are the right fit for our events and may be interested in collaborating with me.
I have teaching in my background and the personal and professional development elements of our business are very important to our structure.
Question: What's next for yourself and Your Time Matters?
Kerryn Powell: Now that my book is finally finished, I look forward to increasing my mentoring and workshop delivery and am also keen to MC or facilitate events on behalf of associations, groups or organisations that understand how important relationships are but recognise that many people are losing the art of conversation.
I am also considering a podcast in the future because I would like to amplify and inspire others by interviewing my connections who are creating change and connection.
I know from conversations, relationships grow, and from relationships we can build networks and start ripple effects that can have far reaching benefits.
Interview by Brooke Hunter