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Building Better Business Relationships With The Gardener Network Framework

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By Author: George Katsoudas
Total Articles: 17
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Networking is a lot like gardening – according to Greg Bahlman, founder of the online networking platform tribemine.com. Indeed, building a network through attending local business networking groups and growing relationships follows the same principle as growing flowers or trees in your garden. This is how he came up with the acronym GARDENER to help entrepreneurs make their networking efforts more effective.

In fact, Greg Bahlman’s set of networking and gardening analogies includes the following:

Preparing the ground for gardening is like preparing to attend a networking event, which involves identifying participants you would like to connect with, preparing your elevator pitch, etc.
Planting a seed in your garden is akin to the first interaction between you and your potential network.
Nurturing the plant to take root is analogous to your efforts in cultivating your relationship with your newly established network.
To avoid killing the plant, it is important to avoid giving it too much sunlight or water. During networking, you should avoid smothering your connections and, ...
... instead, become patient in fostering your relationships.
Plants bearing fruit and producing new seeds is when you finally reap what you sow with your network and gain new connections simultaneously.

The GARDENER Network Framework Concept



Determine what you can bring to your network – this could be something that your new contacts can use or for their business. It does not need to be something that can be bought. In fact, the best value you can give to your new network is your sincere attention and genuine interest.


Acknowledging your network means that getting to know your contacts and appreciating their contribution. Learning about your new network involves gathering information about your contacts, such as who they are, what they do, why they do it, their interests and more.


According to this concept, every relationship in your network should be reciprocal. At the start of your relationship, you will need to put in some effort to establish this new connection. However, after some time, there should be a sense of reciprocity among the two parties. This does not mean that there should always be an equal contribution of effort in nurturing the relationship. Instead, there is a substantial amount of both time and money invested from the two parties.


In a nutshell, this principle is linked to improving yourself, so you are more equipped to grow and expand your network. Developing your skills in networking and deepening your expertise in your niche, as well as distinguishing yourself by looking for ways that will help you stand out are important steps to reach success in networking.


Engagement is, of course, the key to building your network. However, this does not essentially mean that you must continually be the first to engage with potential connections and network. Instead, seize their interest and make them want to engage and interact with you.


There are a few things that are important to avoid while networking, especially in local business networking groups, in order to maintain productive and collaborative relationships with other networking members. These include the following three “N’s”:

Never sell

Never brag

Never dominate the conversation


When you start growing your network, it will become relatively easy finding new connections. For instance, when attending local business networking groups, you may be able to extend your outer circle into a bigger network. If your network continues growing, it can be a good idea to identify dormant relationships and choose to “cut” them away – just like a gardener would prune dying branches. This way, you can focus your valuable resources to more valuable relationships.


Just like how you would routinely take care of your garden is important to network regularly. This includes connecting with new people and establishing new relationships to make up for those that you have pruned. The best way to do this is to create a schedule for your networking plans and efforts.


Attending local business networking groups can be a great way to meet like-minded professionals, create new valuable contacts and generate referrals. Bx - Business Networking Reimagined is Australia’s fastest growing business networking community, organising and hosting fortnightly in-person and weekly online networking events. Find out more about Bx here: https://bxnetworking.com/.

More About the Author

Welcome to BxNetworking! We are a growing business networking community and provide Business and Education Events in Australia. Book a meeting or become a member today! - www.bxbusinessnetworking.com.au

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