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Growing a brand, whether a personal or a business brand, is hard work. There are numerous important aspects to keep in mind. Not only do you need a USP (unique selling proposition) which speaks to your talents, skills, purpose and story, but you also need to have a unique way of showcasing your brand.

 

This you would do through your signature style or your business logo and branding. And then, added to this, you need to know who to talk to, how to network and how to grow your network.

For a budding entrepreneur this may seem daunting and unattainable but growing a network is actually not that difficult and it can be fun and easy if carried out in a practical way.

1. Introductions
I’ve recently read a book by Dave Kerpen on The Art of People and he has a great networking idea:  “An intro a day goes a long way”, he says. He explains that he was introduced to someone he did not know (Bob), via email, in this way: “Dave and Bob, you remind me of each other, so I thought it was about time you met. You’re both bestselling authors, go-givers entrepreneurs and immensely likable guys. Happy connecting! Adam”.
This networking idea is based on Adam Grant’s book – Give and Take, with the argument, that in life, givers win.  Dave further explains that another connection of his, a very shy, introverted guy, took this a step further, and made it his motto to do three introductions per day. This has led to “three marriages, hundreds of jobs, dozens of companies being funded and at least twelve new business partnerships.”*. How awesome and easy! Just tap into your network of people you know and voila, a connection is made, a network starts to grow!

 

2. Being Helpful
Another way of networking, which I have found works really well, is to just be helpful. When someone asks a favour of me, I do it. And if I can’t help, I ask around. This way, I connect people and myself, to new people and to new networks, building more relationships and possibly favours in return.

 

3. Compliment Others
Lastly, the old-fashioned way of real authentic compliments, goes a long way. Whenever I read an article that inspires me, or listen to a talk, or meet someone that motivates or influences me in a good way, I tell them. I contact the author, or the speaker afterwards, and then compliment and thank them. This has worked really well in building my own network and in return, most of the time, I receive very valuable feedback and advice on my own work or brand.

 

leisl cronje
So, to summarize, easy and fun ways for growing your network are:
· Introduce people in your network to each other – even though they do not share the same field of expertise
· Be helpful – do a favour
· Give authentic compliments to inspiring people

 

Hang in there, growing your brand takes time, but if you understand thoroughly who you are, what you do and who to connect with, your brand will fly!

 

Liesl is a Brand Architect to students, mould-breakers and entrepreneurs.
*Kerpen, D.  (2017).  The Art of People.  232, 233.

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