Current IT field related information

11 Nov 09 Finding Business Contacts

In a struggling economy, networking should be a top priority for you, especially if it hasn’t been in the past.  You need business contacts, no matter where you are on the chain.  Through business contacts, you open up the possibility that you will be able to find better work.  Your business contacts are also great to have should you ever lose your current job.  Basically, these are professional associates from different organizations that you regularly keep contact with.

But to get business contacts, first you have to find them.  A business contact can be remarkably useful down the line in your career.  These relationships are great because they are mutually beneficial.  Think about your skill set and what you could offer to help someone else.  From anything like advice, to career prospect options, what do you have to give?

How much you can commit to providing will dictate what sort of business relationship you can form.  As business contacts are a two way street, you have to have something to bring to the table.  Try using websites like LinkedIn.  They are social networking resources for professionals and can be a good start for anybody.

Make sure you have business cards with you all the time.  Whenever you’re in the appropriate scenario, like a work related conference or event, they will be very useful.  Meeting people is great at the moment, but you need a way to keep in contact beyond.  A business card is the fastest and easiest way to do just that.  Not to mention it’s the most professional route.  Professionalism always gets you bonus points.

Remember to keep your ears open all the time.  Pay attention in the break rooms, and when you’re eating lunch.  You could find a great new business contact in a different department.  Somebody you were completely unaware of, and someone you could benefit from.

From there it’s as simple as maintaining the relationship.  If you want to be able to get trusted information from them, you have to provide the same.  Don’t hesitate to inform them of news around the company.  From job openings, etc.  Let them know what’s going on around you, and the opportunities available, and they will do the same.

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11 Nov 09 Keeping Long Term Business Relationships

Forming long-term business relationships is a very important practice.  Without them, you are force yourself to replace the resources you would have from a trusted business relationship.  But how do you maintain these relationships?  Well first, you have to think the right way; you’re not looking for friends, but associates.

Keep track of all your personal associates.  Keep a good record of when and where you first made contact, how often you usually keep in contact with them, and the last time you had a meeting.  Usually programs like Microsoft Excel are good for forming a quick chart that you can change and read on the fly.  All of this can be useful later.

You have to keep using your business contacts so that they do not forget about you, but don’t call them everyday.  Keeping an accurate record of how often you communicate allows you to keep on that system, so that you maintain the relationship by keeping up with them as often as you should.  You can also keep track of their opinion of you this way.  If they usually call you right back after an attempt to contact them, you are high up on the importance list.  If you find they do not usually make an effort to contact you, you’re not that high priority.

Make your contact time count.  Remember, you are not friends; the whole purpose of this relationship is to keep advancing each other professionally in some way.  So keep your messages short, and to the point.  Provide valuable information quickly, and they will return the favor, and turn to you more often.

But make sure that the business relationship is a two way street.  It’s called a relationship for a reason, both of you are looking to benefit from what the other offers.  So if your contact is there for you, make sure to return the favor.  That’s one of the most important ways to keep a business relationship over a long period.

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