What is an entrepreneurial woman to do when suddenly faced with an evening free of children’s sporting activities? Write a blog post of course!
I say this tongue-in-cheek, but it is the reality that I face—and that many of my colleagues face as well. We need to make the most of “found time” to build our businesses, expand our connections, and strategize about our next steps.
Somehow, the ball field—as much as I love watching my daughters play—isn’t the right place for these activities.
I am currently immersed in ball season. We have games on Monday and Wednesday nights, practices Saturday and Sunday, and tournaments 3 out of the next 6 weekends. This time of the year, it is really about keeping my head above water.
Networking. Connecting. Building relationships. All of these things still need to happen if my business is going to grow. It’s not like I can simply press “PAUSE” and still expect the sales funnel to be full when our family frees itself from ball mid-July.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to build upon the relationships I’ve already established. I can usually carve out at least one day a week to get out and meet new people at a networking event.
Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your “found” time to stay connected and build relationships when you face time constraints:
Prioritize who you need to connect with and why. Be strategic. Use your importance / urgency matrix to help you evaluate who to connect with now versus later.
Go prepared. Have a plan. Be clear about why you want to connect with the individual. A little preparation can go a long way in forging a relationship (nothing new here!), particularly when your time is at its most precious.
Schedule follow-up time after the meeting in your calendar. And commit to using this time wisely. Otherwise the follow up information you promised to send may get lost in the shuffle of being busy.
Send a “thinking of you” email when you want to strengthen your long-term relationship with someone who isn’t likely to purchase in the immediate future. Set up a time for a coffee date after the end of crunch season when you have the time to really invest in connecting with them and building the relationship.
Share articles and resources that you think will benefit those in your network as they come across your desk so your connections know that their needs are on your radar. This is a great idea all year—even when you aren’t in a time crunch.
Oh, and as a bonus…
Be realistic about your time when it comes to getting out and networking. Limit the number of networking events you attend based on how much time you need to follow up effectively (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, email, etc.) to solidify the relationship that emerged at the event.
What ideas do you have for building relationships when your time is limited? I’d love to hear some other ideas.