Why is networking and building business relationships important?
In today’s technology-driven world where all industries (including medical) are constantly being challenged and at times disrupted, it is not easy to build a successful medical practice. Yet, no matter how far technology advances or how difficult it is to keep up, a successful business depends on key factors such as:
- Networking – who you know and who knows you in your industry will determine the size of your network
- Relationships – how well you are able to connect with others and how well others know you
- Reputation – what others know of you and your work or achievements
- Referrals – a critical aspect of ensuring your medical practice becomes a sustainable business
Some people will do it better than others or have a natural gift for connecting with people, fostering relationships and leveraging off those same relationships.
It’s no surprise that they are all linked. Having nurturing relationships with your patients or networking with your peers will undeniably help build your reputation, which will boost referrals. Your reputation is your personal brand and your brand has business power.
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, the biggest online retail platform in the world, describes it like this:
How to build real-life networks?
It is essential for medical professionals who desire to be leaders in the industry or in their specific field to develop an understanding and master the art of networking.
Interestingly for most medical practices, the primary source of new patients comes from other health care providers. To grow and sustain your medical practice’s revenue stream, it is important to establish a variety of avenues to attract new patients.
In addition to advertising and possibly networking with insurance companies, forming a strong referral network is a great way to bring in new business. Most importantly you need to make it easy for new referrals to contact you and enquire about your services.
Best practice for effective business networking
Most business people would agree that business networking takes a lot time and effort, but that it can prove to be an effective tactic that generates great rewards. Networking is an art, not a science, and it’s often hard to measure or even define.
It is highly recommended that you commit at least a couple of hours a week to network socially with your contacts, industry peers and colleagues, and ensure you maintain regular contact with this network. Generally speaking, what matters most in building your business network is the frequency and quality of the interaction.
Start by nurturing at least 5 to 10 strategic relationships with a selected group of medical professionals who you can learn from or who will be in the position to help further your career at any given stage by providing advice, contacts, research or their time. Before reaching out to them, be clear about what you want from them and how you believe they can help. Then ask for an introduction using a common connection or get in contact directly. Don’t be shy; people are used to it, these things happen all the time!
Whether you spend one, three or six hours a week networking, turn this time into a productive exercise to connect with people but also, connect people together. The best networkers focus not only on expanding their own network; they also take every opportunity to connect people together and help expand the network of others.
So don’t wait any longer, throw yourself out there! Great places to start are:
- Connections already made through work or medical school
- Linkedin/Linkedin groups
- Medical professionals specific social media platforms
- Professional associations
- Twitter groups
* The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.