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Networking: A Way to Increase Your Net Worth
by Genevia Gee Fulbright, CPA
Excerpt from monthly column – Not Just Your Business
I would have to say that over the years my membership in professional organizations such as AICPA, Durham Chamber, National Association of Corporate Directors, NABA and many others have certainly provided a way to increase my net worth.
Networking in these groups personally lead to past internships, subsequent jobs, tools/guidance of how to run my own practice and leads to potential clients.
Most professional groups attempt to help members gather with like-minded individuals to attract opportunities to increase not just your network of lifetime friends, but also to increase your chances for financial success – which can be measured by growth in your net worth.
I have met some entrepreneurs who do not enjoy actively participating in groups or attending networking mixers. As a reminder, unless you have a strong sales team who can increase your presence and attract business, then it’s up to you – the business owner or the professional trying to move up the corporate ladder.
During a discussion with some associates, they concluded that some of the most fulfilling networking opportunities are those that provide a means to build a quality network group while creating projects that allow members to give back to their profession by helping others who might not otherwise receive an “invitation to the table.” Helping others is like an investment, often it creates future pay-offs.
So how does networking have the potential to increase your net worth? Take the example of a friend who helped a professional association by providing marketing tips. Once noticed by a reporter, the public relations associated with the volunteer service subsequently lead to a contract with a large organization, thereby increasing her revenues significantly.
Networking increases your exposure to opportunities that are seldom advertised and allows others to test you out. As one associate, Derric Gregory, CPA says, "In order to prosper, get caught doing good and you will be provided exciting opportunities."
As you build your network and assess if groups are beneficial for you, see how many "yes" answers you have for the questions below:
1. Can you attribute current and/or new clients to referrals from the group?
2. Are you asked to participate on committees or hold leadership roles?
4. Do you feel passionate about the mission of the organization?
9. Are individuals encouraged to network?
As a final reminder, be careful of the "company you keep" because this will affect your company’s bottom line. Make sure the group is legitimate, has a clear mission, provides networking opportunities and best practices tips.
As Kenny Lattimore says in one of his popular songs, "If you could see you through my eyes." If you desire to grow your business into a successful enterprise, you must constantly assess whether your vision is being implemented and others perceive you as a peer with a growing business. If you are on the right track, you should see your personal net worth grow in the right direction.