Now that you have joined a network, how can you make it work for you?
- Complete your profile
All networks will have a members’ directory and often the opportunity to update your information and post news and information directly. Take advantage of this and raise your profile in the network by regularly posting news about your firm’s activities and relevant information about your jurisdiction and opportunities in your market.
- Identify with whom to develop relationships
Take time to develop closer relationships with fellow network members from jurisdictions of particular interest. Monitoring foreign direct investment flows into your market can help you to identify likely sources of new work and working with a network member to target those potential clients is likely to be more successful than doing it on your own in a new market.
- Bridge your internal gaps
Networks often offer internal capacity building services and support to their members usually focusing on client care and management, training courses, information on new trends, international best practice and support to maintain and develop the quality of your offer. Take advantage of these opportunities to build your firm’s infrastructure.
- Track your referrals
Firms will often join networks in order to increase referrals from overseas firms. A network is one way of raising your profile to potential referees but you will not be able to measure the volume and value of those referrals if you are not keeping track of them and looking at opportunities to increase them. Many networks provide firms with an online tracking system that can be easily updated on an annual or quarterly basis which can also be adapted for internal use. Having a system in place will allow you to better assess where there is more potential work.
- Participate in network events
All networks host at least one annual conference and most also have regional meetings as well as special interest/practice area groups. Make sure you attend at least the requisite number of meetings/conferences and get your firm involved in all relevant groups. Not only will this give the firm as a whole better embedded in the network but it will also give individuals in the firm an opportunity to develop their own relationships within the network with their counterparts across the network.