The Art of Nurturing Your Network for Business Growth

How can you build a strong network?  It's really not rocket science.  Here are some easy to do key strategies to develop a strong network.
You meet dozens of new people each month -- or even each week.  Many of them would fit nicely into your network.  But how can you make sure they'll become part of a really strong network.  How can you turn them into referral partners -- or even into friends?
You can do that by nurturing your network.  As with any other contacts from your personal life, the way to keep them alive is to stay in touch. The more often people hear from you or see you, the better they will remember you. 
Of course, you don't want to overdo this.  You don't have the time, and neither do they.  However the one main key to success is - it must be consistent and add value to the relationship. 
Here are a few suggestions: 
You can make a point of staying in touch with people by making contact at least once every three months.  You could call them up and say hello.  If you've had an idea that might help them, tell them about it.  If you have a special promotion, you can mention that too.  You can also use the phone call to initiate the next item on this list:
Invite someone to go to an event with you.  You can invite them to breakfasts, lunches, coffee, or specific events, including trade shows, a speaker that's on interest to them or networking meetings.  
Make sure the event won't be a chore, and will give you the opportunity to connect and talk.  Even consider offering to pick them up and drive them to and from the event for some extra one-on-one time. If appropriate, introduce them to other people who would be great contacts for them.
You can mail people personal notes or articles they might find useful or interesting. Sending them relevant newspaper clippings is a thoughtful gesture -- and will be received that way.  Those articles can also open up a dialogue about the topic of the article. 
Finally, make sure to set an activity Goal - a good goal could be to devote at least 20 minutes to networking per day.   
Decide which steps you want to take and then take them.  For example you could write three personal notes or cards each day.  You could also make three extra phone calls, either in addition or instead of the cards or even book a coffee date or lunch each week - all for the sole purpose of networking and staying in touch. Figure out what fits your style and schedule then book it in and do it every week. 
Here's an important Tip... whatever the contact make sure it adds value to the relationship - yes, this does take a bit of effort but will yield better results than just a "howdy" call. So be creative and find "reasons" to reach out and connect.
If you work at creating quality connections  consistently, you'll have made at least 15 contacts by the end of the week.  And at the end of the year, you'll have made over 750 quality connections.  
Imagine what this could do for your business!