Each year as we excitedly bid a fond farewell to winter and welcome spring, we hear the term “spring cleaning” being tossed around. This activity is most often viewed as the annual process of cleaning our homes from top to bottom and getting things in order.
We are told to pack away our winter clothes and make room for our spring wardrobes; to deep clean our ovens and fireplaces and get our outdoor grills in working order; all in an effort to take control of our surroundings and prepare us for the future.
Now, what if we apply that same mentality to our collection of business contacts? Call me crazy, but I’d rather spring clean my network and ensure my contacts are up to date and taken care of, than worry about deep cleaning my oven!
If you feel the same way, here are four ways to spring clean your network this season:
1. Review All Your Contacts
Now, I realize this is no easy task that could take several days, depending on the size of your network and how you actually maintain your contacts. But it’s a great — and worthwhile — exercise to do annually. Whether you’re still rocking an old-school Rolodex, have a state-of-the-art CRM system, or prefer to manage your contacts through LinkedIn, make the time to review it all. As you go through your contacts, update records and information, and remove people who are no longer relevant. In the end, you’ll have a firm grasp of who is in your network and how you can work with them moving forward.
2. Make a Coffee Wish List
As you review all your contacts, start a running list of people who you’d like to meet with for coffee at some point this year — and then start reaching out! You could meet one person in your network every week, resulting in 52 face-to-face interactions a year, all for the price of a cup of coffee and half an hour of your time per week.
3.Make a Lunch Wish List
Like the coffee wish list, this list will encourage you to schedule more in-person get-togethers within your network. This list should consist of people you are ready to connect with on a more thorough level, perhaps people who were on your coffee list last year! Make a list of 12 people from your freshly cleaned address book who you’d like to schedule lunch with this year and then book one appointment each month.
4.Make a Plus-One List
How many times have you received an invitation that included a plus one and then scrambled at the last minute to think of someone to bring? Save yourself the time and the stress by creating a list of people you would invite to an event if you have the chance. Next time you have an extra ticket to a sporting event, conference, movie premiere, or networking event, refer to your list to choose the most appropriate guest for the particular occasion. Your guest will appreciate the gesture, and you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to play host and reconnect with someone in your network.
This spring, breathe life into your network by reaching out, connecting, and finding new ways to collaborate. Follow these steps and not only will you benefit this year, but next year’s spring cleaning will also be a lot easier with this system in place.
And if you have extra time, don’t forget to deep clean your oven!
Jenny Powers is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.