The New Year is a great time to have an annual digital clean up to make sure you are ready to network your way to success in 2014.
With the many things on our plate it’s hard to remember what has been updated and what hasn’t, but remember your online tools are your digital assets that support your online and offline networking.
Here is a check list of 5 key items to get you started!
1) Your Inbox – New year, New start
If you have a huge backlog in your mailbox give yourself a clean slate to work with. Archive all your emails in folders by year. Keep the end of last year handy if you have a backlog and set a target number to clear daily.
Set up some tools to help keep your inbox under control: Sanebox, Outlook rules or Mailstrom are some of my favourites. You can also use Mailbox for Gmail mobile.
2) Backups – there’s no excuse anymore!
Give yourself peace of mind by finally setting up a trusted system for backing up and filing. Dropbox, SkyDrive and Box are great cloud tools.
Ok this isn’t networking specific but it will definitely help with your time management freeing up more time for business development.
Have you got your important personal and business documents digitised and filed? Once you have the basics in place consider using digital notebooks such as Evernote and OneNote to keep networking notes in a logical ‘notebook’ style order.
3) Online profiles – maximise you digital assets
When was the last time you updated your digital profiles? Do you have a photo that is at least 18 months – 2 years new?
View your profiles as an outsider. Do you like what you see?
Review your profiles and create:
• 1 long bio (1 page) with photo (ready to send out if you are to be profiled in PR or media and for use on your personal website/about me page/blog etc. If you don’t have a personal website why not set up an About.Me page to direct leads to all your online resources?)
• 1 half page short version for LinkedIn (Check out our blog on 10 ways to market yourself on Linkedin)– don’t forget to update your profile with any recent projects, new work information and recommendations.
• A short informal version for Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram etc.
Date the document and update all your profiles. Set a reminder for 6 months to make sure it is still up to date and relevant. Update the document if you tweak any of the profiles so if o lose them they are easy to restore.
4) Clear that shoebox – there are probably gems in there!
Grab those business cards – scan them up and file them.
CardCam is a great way to digitise your business cards and it also syncs to Outlook contacts. Clean up your contacts file and make notes against people that you need to follow up. Schedule follow up time in your diary – don’t forget make the follow ups relevant and personal!
You can use tools like Contactually to help you manage your network effectively. It’s the ultimate relationship tool that pulls from all your social media and email contacts to supercharge your digital networking.
And while you are at it … clear those receipts too! Expensify is a great receipt tracking app. If you aren’t using digital tools for invoicing think about getting one in place to manage your accounting more effectively. Speak to your accountant about migrating to cloud accounting before your financial year is up. Xero, Quick Books Online and Freshbooks are all good cost effective options.
5) Refresh your business plan (vision board, mind map or culture code)
And make sure your networking is solidly built into it!
Networking is a powerful tool – what do you want to get out of it? Here’s a 4 step action plan to make sure you get the results you want:
1) Know what you want and be clear about expected outcomes
2) Have a plan to achieve these – with a strategy and measurable goals
3) Take effective action towards achieving these leveraging tools and outreach
4) Determine what works and what doesn’t: Track, measure and review.
Then start again at #1!
As with anything – you get out what you put in. I’m geared up for a successful networking year, are you?