When I first started my business I was networking like crazy.  Multiple networking events in a single day, followed by lunch and coffee meetings to connect more in depth with other professionals.  As my client list grew, I admit that the amount of time I spent networking slipped significantly.

Even though I love connecting with fellow tweeters and LinkedIn users, you can’t underestimate the power of face to face networking.  I’ve learned to build regular networking into my schedule because making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships is so important.

Here are some tips I’ve picked-up through networking that you’ll find helpful.

Develop your career mission

For many years I was in a networking group with other sales professionals.  There was one professional who was always very clear about his career goals – one was to become the marketing director of a Fortune 500 company.  Short, sweet and to the point!  And even after leaving that group I still remember his career mission.

Companies develop mission and vision statements, and you should do the same for yourself.  As you network, share your plans and goals with others.  You never know who they know.  You might get an introduction for your dream job or your dream client.

Network smarter and more often

In my early days of networking, any event was a good event! And the more attendees the better.  But a room of 500 people isn’t as beneficial as you might think.  Instead, focus on the opportunities to make truly valuable connections.  Some of the best events I’ve attended only had a handful of people.  But by making one solid connection, I was able to generate thousands of dollars in business.

Finding the time to network can be difficult as work responsibilities continue to grow.  But a simple reminder on my calendar tells me I need to schedule some lunch meetings, or look for a few good events to attend.

Find a mentor or become one

I’ve been both a mentor and a mentee.  In both cases, I was able to learn new skills and become a stronger business owner.  We get so caught-up in the day-to-day tasks of our jobs that it can be difficult to see the big picture.  An outside perspective is tremendously helpful in keeping us on track.

I’ve mentored new business owners in other industries, and it’s been so valuable to understand the different types of challenges they face and how they go about solving them.

By incorporating these tips, you will find that success will come through the support of a strong network.

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, LLC.  She helps her clients get found, get more leads and ultimately make more money.