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Mike Michalowicz was 24 when he started his first business. With limited resources and no experience, he systematically grew a multi-million dollar technology business. After selling his first company, Mike launched a new business the very next day, and in less than three years, sold it to a Fortune 500. With his newest venture, Obsidian Launch, he fosters startup businesses with his "get rich right" approach.Mike received Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards multiple times. He is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), and in the New York Times, Smart CEO Magazine, and other publications. He is the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?Mike Michalowicz: I define networking as I do communicating - give and take. The key to networking is to actively be out there trying to help other people succeed. The more I do to help other people's endeavors, then my value to others increases... and it brings me more opportunities. To do it successfully, I need to deliver my best on both paid and non-paid opportunities. The return value of introducing two people to do business together is just as great as getting an opportunity for myself.The second part of networking is persistence. I can't be there once, I need to be there "always." So I join a select few organizations, but I make sure I am there all the time.Josh: Can you share a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?Mike Michalowicz: There is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. The biggest improvement anyone can make in networking, is simply asking someone else what they do... and listen.Let the questions flow, and you will build a good rapport. I often try to discover a new skill or lesson or cool story every time I meet someone else, it makes the listening very fun.A second tip is to dress consistent with your business. At a traditional networking meeting, everyone is in a suit. But if you are a landscaper, jeans and a sweat shirt are way more fitting. Here is the deal, this is not a license to dress like a slob... you need to be neat, clean and put together. But your outfit should be true to your business, you will stand out from the crowd.Josh: How important has networking been in your own professional life. Can you share a few examples where it has made a difference?Mike Michalowicz: Networking is everything. Because of it, I built and sold a company within 2.5 years to a Fortune 500. I met my partner for that business through networking, and we were introduced to the buyer through networking. Also, for my companies, I hire over half my colleagues that I met through networking.Josh: You're the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur -- can you share a few specific ideas from the book?Mike Michalowicz: The golden lesson in the book is that entrepreneurial success, as the media presents it, is not typical. There is a far more common path, and it results in tremendous success if navigated properly. That path is the one of the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE).In short, most entrepreneurs will not have an opportunity to start with a full roll of cash, or a strong business network, or any experience for that matter. The funny thing is this common starting point is VERY navigatable. And with the right balance of beliefs, focus and persistence, you can grow a wildly successful company that brings both wealth and happiness to you. I have built three companies this way, and want readers to know how to do it too.Happy Networking to you! Josh Hinds*brought to you by
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