From economic strategy to forecasting and everything in between, your CFO is tasked with some of the toughest day-to-day jobs in the business. And they often have to make these decisions alone.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The best CFOs have a large support base of colleagues and associates that can be called upon for advice when it’s needed. Thus, the best CFOs are indeed exceptional networkers.
Below we outline the importance of networking and the role it plays in improving your CFO’s performance.
What is Networking?
Networking is the creation of a group of associates who work together for the mutual benefit of all. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and networking is a way of giving the gift of information to others, and receiving it in return.
Therefore, an effective network aims to enhance the ability of the group over the individual. As a result, the idea is based on the thought, “How can I help?”, rather than “What can I get?”
Now let’s look at some reasons why networking is important for CFOs.
Why Networking Matters for CFOs
There are five main benefits of networking:
- Opportunity – Networking gives you the opportunity to build your knowledge-base every time you meet someone new. The person you’re networking with could be a potential client, collaborator or colleague, so it really pays to put yourself out there and take an active role in creating your network.
- Exposure – No business is successful without being known. Actively seeking a network of like-minded professionals positions your company as a positive, forward-thinking business. And it’ll give you a reputation as a thought-leader in the industry.
- Contacts and relationships – Just like you’ve heard in the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The more people you can call on, the more well-rounded your knowledge-base becomes. And since most careers these days are long, varied and somewhat unpredictable, having a large network sets you up for the future, whatever you decide to do next.
- Sharing things in common – People with things in common work more effectively and get on better. Networking can provide you with many different avenues to enrich your work-life, and you may also make lifelong friends.
- Learning from each other – The sharing of information is perhaps the most important benefit of networking. The CFO is tasked with providing the future financial health of the company, so it’s important that they’re always looking for new ideas. It’s quite likely that through networking you’ll meet someone who has an idea of vision that could work for your company.
Strong networks are a highly valuable asset to CFOs, but how do you form a network?
How to Get Networking
We’ve found four tips help CFOs best utilise networking:
- Ask for help – It may seem obvious, but not asking for assistance when you need it has been found to be the biggest networking mistake. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other professionals. It’ll show your competence, not incompetence.
- Show your appreciation – It’s a simple point, but make sure you thank people for their help. Strong networks are effective because everyone volunteers their time and feels rewarded for doing so, and this encourages more people to contribute.
- Offer to help without being asked – Keep an eye out for things you can help with. It’ll position you as a valued contributor, building a positive reputation for you and your company. And look out for up-and-comers. Provide help now, you never know who’ll be the next Evan Spiegel or Elon Musk.
- Keep in touch – You’ve taken the time to build your network, make sure you keep it working. Even if you don’t necessarily need help now, take the time to remain on friendly terms with semi-regular contact because you may need their help in the future.
Networking is a valuable skill for any CFO. It extends the reach of your business and ensures that ideas are always being challenged and updated, keeping your business ahead of the competition.
To learn about what BridgePoint Group’s advisory services can bring to your business, contact us here.