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TGIF: Make a Resolution to Expand (Your Contacts, Not Your Waistline)

We all follow the same pattern around this time of year.  We think about the New Year coming and decide that we may make some changes, which usually relate to our personal lives.  Go to the gym; plan an adventure; read more…make wiser food choices.  All of the plans may not come to fruition, but one or two make it through and we develop a new habit. 

This year, think about business habits, too. With a new year generally comes new budgets, and that means more opportunities for new business.  What habits can you develop that will help your business?  Here are a few suggestions…

Take a fresh look at your contacts. Yes, you troll through your contacts on a regular basis, but how often do you really look at them?  Think about who has moved around in the last year, who has moved up, who might need help.  Turning a critical eye toward LinkedIn, for example, will almost certainly add three phone calls to your to-do list.

Volunteer. You know you want to.  Take a look at volunteer opportunities in your hometown, or near your office.  You’ll feel good about what you’re doing, you’ll meet like-minded people, and you’ll network.  It’s a win/win/win. 

Look for a Board opportunity. If you belong to a professional organization, think about serving on the Board, or, join an organization with the goal of running for a Board position.  This is a great way to build relationships.  You’ll interact with other organizations, local businesses and lots of prospects. 

The home front. Don’t forget about Co-op/Condo boards and homeowners associations.  Like professional organizations, these provide a great opportunity to network, plus, it’s close to home.  And maybe you can do something about that dead plant in the lobby while you’re at it. 

Optimize your hobbies.  If you coach your son’s soccer team, show up to games ten minutes earlier.  If you belong to a running club, arrive ten minutes before a scheduled run.  Instead of showing up on time, give yourself time to socialize before you get down to business.  Alternatively, don’t rush home after a scheduled activity; get to know the people you see on a regular basis. 

Now you have a whole new set of goals, and you don’t have to worry so much about the gym or that cupcake.  Actually, put down the cupcake…and Happy New Year!

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