THE BLOG
01/03/2015 04:51 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Evolution of Business Networking

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I love attending networking events. I have met the most amazing people over the years through networking. I can even thank networking for some of my dearest friendships. You never know who you're going to sit next to that may impact your life in a big way.

With more and more people building lives and careers away from their hometown, city or country, people are turning to networking as a way to build new communities of support, family and inspiration.

I routinely hear, "I'm here tonight because I needed the support of my community."
Networking events have become much more than a place to throw out your business cards over the proverbial rubber chicken. They have evolved into groups of individuals where making a real impact in not only their business community, but their community as a whole has become of the utmost importance.

I recently heard Brett Labit speak on this very topic. Brett is the founder of Local Impact Zone (LIZ), whose mission is to create unified communities where giving, serving and caring are at the core of interaction.

Brett stops by to share more about LIZ and how social responsibility makes an impact in life and business.

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JB: Tell us more about LIZ and how creating unified communities will transform the way business is done.

BL: LIZ provides a social marketplace with resources to support its members while fostering a sense of responsibility to help each other grow. This culture of giving first to empower the law of reciprocity is not only sustainable long-term, but has the tendency to lift the community at all levels. Being unified means that we care more about being reconciled than right. I personally have found the best path to unity is to consciously remove expectation, judgment, manipulation and control of others and allow them to be who and what they are. The law of reciprocity says that if I extend this freedom to others, in time, freedom is what I will receive. #unityinthecommunity

JB: LIZ educates individuals on the law of reciprocity. How important is this to the growth of a business?

BL: We believe the most important act in business today is to build social influence by being socially responsible. I define social influence as having a large trusting and trusted network both online and off. If we build social influence (the like, know and trust factor), then whatever viable product or service we plug into that network, will succeed. The best way I know to create social influence is to give first to empower the law of reciprocity. This is not a T-shirt we put on in the morning and it is not just an act we perform sometimes. It becomes the core of who we are. Giving, serving and caring are at the core of our interactions and that leads to today's currency, which is social trust and then reciprocation.

JB: You spoke about the importance of investing your life back into those around you. Please share more about this.

BL: It has been said that the key to success is to surround yourself with sharp, ambitious people and help them get what they want, and you will in turn get what you want. I believe this is true, but there is more to it. There is an ecosystem in life and business, and every individual is important. As a community, country and world, we are only as healthy as our weakest parts. By investing in those around you and influencing others to do the same, our sphere of influence grows and the culture of our sphere grows with it. I am constantly improving because of the giving, serving and caring people around me. We must be the change we want to see. If my network is healthy, chances are that I will have the opportunity to be healthy.

JB: What are the three stages of business and how do they impact one another?

BL: 1. Survival - I have an idea and I am in the rubber band of lack of capital and lack of knowledge. It is important this rubber band does not stretch too far and snap. Gather knowledge and capital as quickly as possible through the moving of your products and services. Get proof of concept.

2. Stability - Move the enterprise into stability. Consistent cash flow. Having the right people on the bus and in the right seats. Optimizing what you currently have and innovating to stay ahead of the curve.

3. Success and significance - Success is at every level and part of the entire progression. Significance is not only moving a product or service but making a difference. Giving back of time, experience and resources to assist others to progress in life and business.

The greatest stage is survival. Our questions are answered here, and we build the strength to make the climb.

JB: You shared about your inspiring entrepreneurial journey. What advice would you give an entrepreneur just starting out?

BL: First of all, spend some time in this question: Who are you? Not who has society asked you to be, or parents or teachers. Who are you? What values, principles and beliefs will govern your life. Again, not everyone else's, but the real ones that you can truly say are yours. When you can get to the real bottom of this question - and trust me, it is not easy - you will develop consistency of character. You will be dependable, and the world can support you. Create your personal vision and mission first, then work on the vision of your enterprise.

JB: Where can our readers learn more about Local Impact Zone (LIZ)?

BL: www.localimpactzone.com, brett@localimpactzone.com or 208-861-0622.