By Ed Craine and Dr. Ivan Misner
We’re well into 2010 by now, and call us crazy, but we don’t think too many of you are shedding tears over the end of 2009. In fact we hope that you share our enthusiasm for the opportunities for business networking that the new decade will provide. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of items that we should all be excited about in 2010. While we don’t actually have a crystal ball, we’re feeling confident that the following predictions will come to light this year.
1. The economy IS going to improve. Technically this isn’t a business “networking” issue, but it will play an incredibly important role in our business success this year. So we encourage you to have faith. Be vigilant in looking for opportunities. Focus on your strengths. You will have a better year this year, but only if you commit to focusing on solutions and refusing to dwell on problems.
2. Online social networks will continue to play a huge role in our success. True, we didn’t really need the crystal ball for that one. However, as much as virtual schmoozing will become an increasingly significant part of our daily routines; so too will frustrations relating to how to best convert that technology into viable business opportunities. This is an emerging field, and much of it will be established over the next few years.
3. Companies and individuals alike will need to establish a social media strategy. So, what’s your plan? Wait, you don’t have one? That’s a big NO-NO for this year. Don’t waste any time, and start working on one now. If you don’t know where to start, begin with research. There are some incredibly talented experts out there who can help you in to create a strong, cutting-edge social media strategy that will only help your business to grow.
4. Laid off workers will actively seek out and join networking groups. Countless people have been laid off. These people need jobs, and idly searching Craigslist or other job boards just won’t be enough. Membership in networking organizations will undoubtedly grow as people seek to expand their resource pools. We’re pretty confident that your networking organization will grow, if it hasn’t begun to already.
5. In-person networking will become more integrated with online networking. Online networks will increasingly create more opportunities for face-to-face networking, and face-to-face networks will begin to integrate online networking more effectively into their programs.
6. The “one-way” website will slowly go the way of the dinosaurs. In 2010, we’re sure to see companies creating websites that operate in two directions. They will not only provide information to visitors, but will also seek feedback from their customers. Blogs, interactive newsletters, social network sites, consumer feedback groups will all become more and more important for professionals and companies.
7. Companies that succeed in 2010 will do so because of their focus on relationships. Technology is a tool. Relationships rule the roost when it comes to networking. Companies who are creative in using tools to enhance the relationship building process will be the leaders in a company networking program.
And there you have it: our business networking predictions for 2010. We hope you share our enthusiasm for the changes that are coming, for as long as we remain agile, and ahead of the curve, we’re all sure to start this new decade off on the right food.
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (www.bni.com), the world’s largest business networking organization. His newest book, Networking Like a Pro can be viewed at www.IvanMisner.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company (www.referralinstitute.com).