Networking ‘only the beginning’
PROMINENT LOCAL BUSINESSMAN RAWLE BRANCKER has told a gathering of businesspeople that while networking is important, it cannot be an end in itself.
Brancker, who was the featured speaker at the joint chapter meeting of Business Network International (BNI) Barbados’ National Networking Week recently, told those present that “it does not stop at networking”.
The local group invited Brancker to address them at the Dining Club, Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church, and he told them that networking was particularly important because of the referrals gained through that activity “but we must not take networking for granted – to be an end in itself”.
“It is a necessary and useful opener but in order to derive total benefit, there has to be a careful plan of follow-up activity to ensure that maximum benefit is derived.”
Brancker warned that “word of mouth” – a big part of the BNI platform – could be beneficial but could also be destructive to a business if that “word of mouth” was negative. “To save yourselves and your businesses from such a disaster, it is of utmost importance that, after your networking exercise, you set about building relationships. That helps to build your credibility,” Brancker told the gathering of BNI members and other businesspeople who attended as guests.
The chief executive officer of Brancker’s on Fontabelle, St Michael, and chairman of Cricket Legends of Barbados also told the entrepreneurs that when networking, care should be taken not to be too anxious and overpush to land business too early.
“Take your time,” he urged. “Timing is everything. Don’t rush in for the kill too early. I have found that if you build that relationship with the person or persons with whom you are networking, business will flow in a sustainable way.”
Critically important to the success of any business operation, Brancker said, were several other factors.
They were “reliability, dependability, credibility, commitment, consistency and, very importantly, a reliance on God and self”.
Curtis Belgrave, the national director of BNI Barbados, also addressed the business people and reminded them about the myths and facts of doing business. He told them that clients needed to trust both their “character and competence”. Competence, he said, was in greater supply than character so character had great economic value. (ES)