Build your network – even online

ACT Like A Pro, Issue 132

How do we create high-value networks in an age of Zoom calls, cancelled fairs, and discontinued international travel? The platforms may be different in 2020, but the networking and connecting-building principles are the same.

Connections matter for a variety of reasons, including strategic partnerships, lifelong learning, and maintaining awareness of critical market or industry information.

I’m going to cover a few ways you can cultivate connection with your local community, your state leaders, and peers across the nation.

1. Board of Directors

Get involved in your local community, whether it’s ag-based or not, by volunteering to serve on a board of directors.

2. Build a Peer Advisory Board

Build an advisory board for your own business with people who have an outside perspective on your operation (not family or staff), who want to see you succeed, and who are willing to keep all information shared confidential.

I cover building an advisory board in my latest book including how to structure it, how to invite contacts, and how to avoid burning out your advisory board.

3. Join a Peer-Group Network

A peer-group network managed by a third-party facilitator is a fantastic way to deepen your relationships with like-minded, growth-oriented producers.

You can try to start and manage a peer network yourself, but as a professional peer group leader, I advise against it; you’ll spend more time recruiting members, planning meetings, and ensuring each member in the network is reaching their goals than working and getting feedback on your own operation which defeats the purpose.

4. Attend Online Interactive Workshops

While interactive classes and workshops online have been a great option for years (the money and time saved in travel alone is a bonus), they’re essential right now.

A good leader will foster engagement, group discussion, interpersonal dialogues, and provide connections with group members along with the course content.

I’ll be hosting my very own online interactive workshop, the Ag Lead Short Course, for new leaders to jump-start their connections and learn business skills (like writing job descriptions, managing staff meetings, and navigating family business relationships) over the six-month course.

What ways of connecting were essential to developing your current network? Let me know in an email or comments!

ACT Like A Pro Out There!


Sign up for the Ag Lead Short Course waiting list TODAY and get notified when the cart opens for this 6-month course all about business skills for emerging leaders.

It’s my contribution to the online, interactive workshop format, and I’ve invested my 20 years of experience in ag to developing this robust, peer-focused, intentional space for young managers and emerging leaders in ag and agribusiness.