Dating is Like Networking

Martina New

It’s a numbers game.

Every business owner knows the formula for success is that you have to talk to X number of people, to narrow them down to Y number of warm or hot prospects, to succeed in turning Z number of those into clients. As I continue seeking my romantic mate, it occurred to me that dating works in a similar way.

While everyone and their dog is nowadays eternally busy “being busy”, today’s search for romance takes place mostly via online dating sites, with some face-to-face speed dating thrown in for good measure. The end goal remains the same as through “traditional/old-fashioned” ways: finding that one-in-a-million partner who is best suited to you, and vice versa.

In our high-tech 21st century this means going online, resulting in instant, searchable, and fairly anonymous access to not hundreds but thousands of singles looking for love. This is where it’s akin to business networking.

Following above networking formula, you have to first talk to X number of people. That means selecting advance search criteria to narrow down your ‘target market’, e.g. gender, age, marital status, physical stature, interests etc. Then you scroll and skip through several hundred potential suitors, mostly not talking to anyone at this stage but just reading how they ‘talk’ about themselves. This is your Number X.

Second, you need to whittle down those potentials to find your warm or hot prospects; figuratively speaking or literally hot (Number Y). You message several or many. Some will reply, and many will not. In return, you will receive random inquiries from daters far outside your age range, location, or far off any attributes you would consider, even remotely. (Business speak: Know your target market! That works both ways.)

Attending speed-dates can help accelerate pre-selection by providing instant access to 10 or 15 prospects. This is like attending weekly or monthly networking meetings, where you work the room to talk to many business owners, seeking out those interested in what you have to offer.

Through perseverance with either or both of above two processes you then find a few potentials, with whom you communicate back and forth. This is your Number Y.

Third, you talk over the phone and/or meet the best prospects in person and attempt to discern the potential for a positive and fulfilling relationship, this time personal, not client based. If unsuccessful, you repeat the process for Number Y until you reach your ‘goal’ of finding your ideal Number Z.

Re-reading my own formulae and processes above, online dating should in fact be much easier than networking! In business, there are no “advanced search” selection criteria that will automatically pop up to help narrow down your ideal target market(s). No self-description as to what your prospect is looking for. There is just Cupid and his rose-coloured glasses on occasion obscuring your vision and judgement.

I shall ponder that thought. But now I must dash – someone just sent me a “wink”!

Author’s Cheerful Disclaimer: The opinion, experience, and formulae expressed by the author may or may not be true, realistic, and may, or may not, be based on personal experience, and would therefore not hold up in a Court of Law or anywhere else. Suggestions of potentially suitable single males may be submitted to the author via private and confidential e-mail after your thorough and thoughtful pre-screening, at your own expense, and applying your best guess.

Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE co-working space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new start-ups.  Contact her at:, on Facebook and on Twitter

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