Love Thy Neighbor
November 17, 2011 by Mike Certoma
When you’re an entrepreneur working in a shared office space, it’s easy to get consumed with your bottom lines and growing your business instead of paying attention to the simple acts of networking that you have at your fingertips.
In your office space are potential job leads just waiting to be plucked. Where, you ask? All around you! By making it a point to develop relationships and strike up daily conversations, you could be laying the foundation for future referrals.
One of the greatest benefits to be utilized is the sharing of business ideas. Find out what has worked for your colleagues and what hasn’t. By simply talking and developing friendships, you may gain more business savvy than learning on your own. We all know how fragile startups are, where even a tiny wrong move can lead to bankruptcy. By surrounding yourself with like minds who are solving the same problems as you are, it can help you better assess which risks to take and which to avoid.
Here are some easy ways to get started:
- Have lunch in the common area – by literally putting yourself in a high traffic area, you are bound to run across people to chat with. As colleagues come in and out for food or beverages, find a reason to strike up a conversation. Compliments are always a good start! From there, get to know your co-workers on a personal level. Remember – the motivation first should be to nurture a healthy working relationship.
- Invite people out for happy hour – go around to various offices on a Monday and extend the invitation for a quick drink after work on a Wednesday or Thursday. Don’t do Friday – most people are tired after working all week and ready to get home to their families. There’s nothing like bonding over a few cocktails and exchanging business ideas.
- Grab a cup of coffee – when that mid-afternoon slump hits and you get groggy and unmotivated, go grab someone from the next office and ask them if they want to get a quick cup with you.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to get people together and start developing friendships at work. Be flexible, go with the flow, and don’t stop initiating the invites! Your new friend and next business lead could be just an office away.