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We can all use more contacts. Even if you have hundreds of contacts in your address book, how many can you actually rely on to be active business opportunities? There are three types of networking contacts. Sometimes your contact may fall into more than one category.
Operational: Operational contacts are those people that can help you run your business efficiently. That may be someone who sells office supplies or software solutions, or someone looking for a job in marketing when you have an open position.
Strategical: Strategical contacts help us grow our business. That could be a new client for your company or a firm you can partner up with to provide a greater range of services. Say for instance you own a computer hardware company. If you meet a contact that owns a software company, you may be able to join forces and corner a part of the IT market neither of you could have captured before!
Personal: Not every networking meeting generates sales. Sometimes you meet people that think like you (you're all passionate entrepreneurs, so the likelihood is great) that you want to spend time with. You might never talk about business again in your relationship, or you may bounce ideas off one another.
Don't go into a networking group with your sights set on only getting new business. You may miss some other valuable contacts while you're wearing your blinders.