As a small business, your network often becomes your net worth. As such, it’s essential to build relationships to generate business leads, discover new business prospects, expand your customer base and engage with mentors who can help shine new perspective into your business.
Typically, networking takes place at events, meetings, and social networking platforms that vary in format. Understanding how to invest your networking time and resources can help you bring about real benefits for your business.
Here are a few tips to network like a pro and make a positive lasting impression.
Choose the right networking event
Your time is valuable, so make sure that you’re going to networking events that are likely to help your business. After work gatherings, breakfasts, and local seminars are often the most valuable when it comes to creating an ongoing impression.
Also, don’t disregard conferences and trade shows as they offer unparalleled networking opportunities for small businesses. Larger events provide invaluable opportunities to network with movers and shakers in a dynamic business environment.
Leverage the power of networking sites
To a certain extent, digital networking is much easier than its offline equivalents. Recently, social media has significantly driven the growth of online networking and small business can take advantage of a much broader reach across wider, boundless social networks.
It’s also highly valuable to join the right networks for your small business, where you can interact and engage with other business owners. LinkedIn is a great go-to platform to help grow your customer referral base and provide a unique mentoring opportunity.
Whichever platform you’re using, social networking provides an excellent opportunity to connect with other small-business owners who don’t necessarily live in your local but may run similar businesses and can share insight on what has worked for them.
Take ownership and host your networking event
For many small business owners, especially those specializing in a niche market, it can prove challenging to find the right networking groups or events. Instead of waiting for the right opportunity to network, why not take ownership and host a networking event?
Ultimately, hosting your networking event or creating a networking group can provide an excellent networking avenue as well as broaden your network of potential customers. Also, hosting a successful networking event will open up more opportunities to receive invitations to other networking events, which will, in turn, help you build genuine and authentic relationships.
Network through unconventional means
Sometimes it's not enough to engage with other professionals through organized traditional or formal events. Be on the lookout for unique networking opportunities such as engaging with other small business owners via shared hobbies and interest.
Casual networking environments take away considerable pressure from conversations and provide an opportunity to grow your network in new ways. Think about your everyday life; you’re constantly involved in activity over the weekend, maybe it’s a party, a marathon, a community sport, gatherings, etc. why not use this as a networking opportunity?
You can gradually build fruitful relationships and strong connections for your business by networking through such unconventional means, which presents the most potential to create greater impact in the long run.
Not every strategy will work for your business. You have to choose and try. Which strategy suits your business? Share your thoughts with us.
Filed under: Entrepeneur