11 Ways to Nurture Your Network & Protect Your Career from Failing

The importance of business relationships cannot be overemphasized. In fact, “who you know is more important than what you know” in business. A lot more important.

That simple and innocent-looking advice is worth a million dollars. In fact, it should be written with fire across the sky or, better yet, be carved on your office wall with pure gold.

Having the right connections is essential to business success, especially if you plan to be extremely successful. Robert Kiyosaki was right when he said, “Your network determines your net worth!”

Building a strong relationship is easy but can also be difficult. So here are some practical, actionable tips for building long-lasting business relationships.

1. Keep In Touch

working woman on the phone in open office
Image Credit: pressmaster via Depositphotos.

It sounds basic, but we’re starting to forget how to keep in touch because we can simply check out their social media to see what’s going on in their lives. But we have to maintain our relationships.

If you don’t talk to someone for months, you’ll fall off their radar, or they may not immediately jump at the chance to help you when you finally reach out to them and ask.

To make relationship-building easier, keep brief records of who you have networked with and check in on them regularly. If they’re part of your social media network, keep your conversations going. If they’re colleagues or people with whom you’ve swapped business cards, send an email or make a call every month or so. Check in and say ‘hello.’

If you tend to forget to make – or worse, return calls or emails – use a task management system or calendar to remind you to call or write.

2. Be Trustworthy

male coworkers high five in office
Image Credit: HayDmitriy via Depositphotos.com.

Never take advantage of people. Never. Don’t even let them think that you’d do so. It’s the quickest way to ruin a good relationship and build a bad reputation that can harm other relationships too.

The key to building trust is being honest.

When you are willing to forego your own interests to help someone else, they know they can rely on and trust you. Do the right things and be dependable, and your relationships will grow stronger.

3. Develop Relationships Through Networking

two people laughing at yard sale
Image Credit: Dmyrto_Z via Depositphotos.com.

Networking is the key to building relationships, and you have many options available. You can attend mixers or networking events to meet new contacts. However, networking doesn’t have to be this formal. You can strike up a friendly conversation with someone at the gym or in the grocery store check-out line.

As long as you are engaging with other people, you are networking. You never know when you’ll meet new customers or grow relationships with other professionals.

Even if you aren’t much of a people person, you can put yourself out there a little bit to make some great contacts. You don’t have to be the life of the party. People would rather you just be yourself.

If you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there online, start with LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is up to date, and test the waters to see if you can make any new contacts online.

4. Show An Interest In Others

applause for coworker in staff meeting
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia via Depositphotos.com.

Showing interest in others is an early step to gaining respect and building a business relationship.

One bad attitude to avoid in a relationship is being pretentious. Pretentious people don’t get very far because they always talk about themselves. Listen to what people have to say and show sincere interest in them.

News flash: in other people’s worlds, you aren’t the most important person. Accept that. Embrace it. Use it to your advantage. Ask them questions about their jobs, kids, and challenges to build rapport.

Another essential thing to note here is that you need to pay attention to what people brought up in discussions to reference it in future discussions. Everyone is impressed when someone shows they’ve taken the time to remember their stories. It shows that you actually care. If you remember that their dog Sparky wasn’t doing well, they’ll be glad that you remembered a few months down the road.

5. Work Hard

accountant doing calculations at work
Image Credit: Orathai164 via Depositphotos.com.

This is one proven strategy for marketing yourself. People no longer buy knowledge; they buy results. They need you to prove yourself worthy before they invest in you by working hard.

Believe me—nobody will have your back or say a good word for you if they know you will not deliver the result.

This is also true when it comes to customer retention. If you want potential customers and existing customers to do business with you, you need to build a relationship with them by being trustworthy and providing the best customer service you can. Not only does this improve your customer satisfaction, but it will also grow your business and make it more profitable.

6. Use Your Network to Build New Relationships

friends eating at outside cafe
Image Credit: Dmyrto_Z via Depositphotos.

Chances are, many of your co-workers, professional partnerships, other small business owners, and even your friends and family members could help each other out – if only they were connected.

When you feel an introduction would be beneficial and both parties have agreed, introduce two of your connections to each other and help them build relationships. Be a business matchmaker. Make those referrals. These people will then move mountains for you because they trust you and see that you care about them.

7. Send A Letter

man writing in notebook in a casual office setting
Image Credit: IgorVetushko via Depositphotos.com.

We live in a digital world, and everything is electronic now. Therefore, you can get someone’s full attention by mailing a handwritten note. Think about how someone reaching out to you by mail would impact you.

If you just finished reading a good book about an issue you’ve discussed with someone in your network, mail it to them with a note explaining why you’re sending it. Sure, they will appreciate the gift, but the fact that you remembered and reached out will mean so much more.

8. Spend Time With Each Other In Person

woman showing coworker something on her phone
Image Credit: nenetus via Depositphotos.

The majority of our connections are virtual, but you can always take your relationship to the next level by meeting in person.

You can meet people for lunch or coffee and share business advice and tactics. If you travel regularly, try to nurture your work relationships by meeting with a colleague whenever you visit their city.

If that’s not possible, you can use Skype or Zoom to meet “face-to-face” instead of sending messages back and forth.

9. Send Them Interesting Links

young woman laying on floor with laptop at home
Image Credit: deagreez1 via Depositphotos.

If you come across a link that one of your contacts might appreciate, send it and give them a short explanation of why you thought the link would be useful. You can also personalize this by letting them know how the article or site made you remember them.

A point of warning here: do not send too many links to the same person. Remember, you want to maintain a positive relationship. There is a difference between being helpful and annoying.

10. Congratulate Them

man celebrating in office with applause
Image Credit: fizkes via Depositphotos.com.

If you learned that one of your connections was recently promoted at work or changed professions, celebrate with them. Send a congratulatory note and ask them questions about the change.

This is also a great opportunity to re-establish a lost relationship. Connect with them to catch up on other matters and provide an update on your own status.

11. Do Not Overdo It

woman stressed at desk in modern office
Image Credit: FS-Stock via Depositphotos.

This sounds like a caution. You need to give the people in your network space and room. They are not nurturing a relationship with you alone. So, let them breathe and grow on other things.

No one likes to be smothered. Gauge their comfort level and go from there.

Your Network Matters More Than Ever

laughing manager at staff meeting
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com via Depositphotos.com.

If there is only one thing that determines how far you go in life, it’s your ability to build the right network and maintain a good business relationship. The tips mentioned above will help you build strong, mutually beneficial relationships that will open doors you never thought were possible.

Improve Your People Skills

mature businesswoman shaking hands in meeting
Image Credit: PeopleImages.com via Depositphotos.com.

How you interact with and relate to others can impact your success in life and your career. No one wants to work with someone who is negative and always complaining, and no manager wants to hire or promote someone who is rude, temperamental, or unreliable.

So, what exactly are these skills, and how do you improve them? It may seem like learning people skills is as simple as socializing with others. While that will help, it will only get you so far. Here are strategies for learning and improving your interpersonal skills

Getting a Job Has Nothing to Do With Your Qualifications

happy man having resume reviewed at job interview
Image Credit: thelivephotos via Depositphotos.

Qualifications and achievements have long been considered the cornerstone of professional worth and capability. However, as the job market continues to evolve, these standards are changing.

While qualifications play a part in getting a job, they’re not the only factor. Here’s why your qualifications might not be the deciding factor in your next application.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

Leave a Comment