Wendy Gladney (Courtesy photo)


I have been an entrepreneur and small business owner for over three decades. The world of entrepreneurism is not easy, and it is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of elements necessary for success beyond the basic business acumen.  

One of the necessary elements is the ability to network. Remember, it is not who you know but who knows you.  It also does not matter if you have someone’s number, it is about whether they take your call.   

One of the key things to networking is following up, following through, and being authentic with your intentions. People can see through when you are not being real. As my husband would say, contacts can help you get contracts, but only if you have developed the relationship. 

There are various components that go into being successful at networking.  I have a friend, Janice Smallwood-McKenzie, who is known as being the Network Coach.  I am sure she shares in her coaching and books the power that is in networking strategically and correctly.    

Over the years, I have learned there is an art to networking that takes skill, patience, and persistence.  You must be willing to nurture relationships, and this can take time.  Putting in the time is worth it when you are in it for the long haul.  Networking can have many benefits that go beyond just possibly getting a job or contract from that person. Sometimes they may turn out to be people who can mentor you in your business and help you solve problems and grow. 

A key thing to keep in mind is to be mindful when you encounter new people because you never know who you will meet that can open that specific door you need access to. There are people known as gatekeepers who actually hold the key to those you are trying to meet.  Never underestimate the power of an assistant, intern, executive assistant, or even the janitor.  They may be the very one the person you are trying to connect with listens to on a regular basis.   

Also, remember to never be mean or rude to anyone. By the way, if you are a rude person, eventually your authentic self will show up and people will see who you really are.  If this has been a flaw you have been carrying around, pivot now and start working on yourself. 

Speaking of working on yourself, another component connected to networking is your branding.  Try to stay consistent with your branding because that will help people to remember and recognize you when something comes across their desk such as a business card, brochure, newsletter, or any of your company branding materials.   

Also, do not forget to send that handwritten note after you have connected with someone, and you want to keep in touch and build a relationship. If you really want to stay before them, add them to your holiday cards and see if you can find out their birthday or any other special occasion that is important to them.  They will be impressed that not only did you remember, but you also went through the effort to drop something in the mail to them the old-fashioned way.  

Finally, something that I have found special is when you are networking and expanding your reach, do not always try to see what you can get from someone else, but start by seeing what you can do for them.  That really is a game-changer.    

Most people, especially if they are in high positions, are used to people trying to get something from them, but very few people start with how can I be of service to you?  You can do it!  

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on. 


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.