Business networking, a strategy empowering knowledge, development, and business growth, has become a way of life for most entrepreneurs.
As a small business owner, you would have undoubtedly attempted to build connections in the business world to succeed.
Whether it was to obtain unique business opportunities, information about the latest industry trends, or valuable advice, networking would’ve encouraged you immensely.
If you want to kick-start your networking journey or discover valuable techniques to strengthen your approach, keep reading!
Importance & Need
Better Market Insight
As a business owner, being conscious about your industry’s recent developments and trends shouldn’t just be a desire but a necessity.
With networking, a reliable platform to share knowledge can be created, which would empower businesses to make more informed decisions.
Business Networking strategies can help you discover recent cutting-edge technology to surpass your competitors or even uncover fresh approaches to perform tasks that pioneers in your industry follow.
“It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know.”
A saying that has never been truer, all successful entrepreneurs know that the secret to creating a thriving business stems from the ability to intensify your network.
Professional Networking can unlock doors to significant people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet.
You can also earn valuable referrals, possible partnerships, or even great demand for your product or service through networking.
Networking can bestow possibilities you never imagined. As a small business, ensure that you are open-minded and seize every opportunity that comes your way.
Don’t forget, with increasing opportunities comes increasing confidence.
Credibility of brand
Professional networking won’t just get you valuable contacts and knowledge. It will also promote your company’s and your reputation in the market.
When you consistently participate at networking events, interact with others, and give and take advice, you’re likely to be seen as a more serious player in your industry.
If you want to avail all the benefits networking brings to the table, you must learn to master the art.
The first step to boost your brand’s reputation begins with consistently meeting clientele needs.
If others have a positive experience working with your company, its value will naturally flourish.
How to build your network successfully
There are myriad networking events that one can attend to create relationships, opportunities, and leads.
There are face-to-face networking events and digital or online networking opportunities that small business owners can utilize.
For effective results, branching out to multiple networking opportunities seems to be the most feasible choice.
In-Person Professional Networking
A more relaxed approach to networking, informal gatherings can be an excellent way to engage with new people and build lasting business relationships.
If you’re hesitant to approach others at networking events, informal meetings are perfect for you.
Such events can include gathering for breakfast once a week to discuss current market trends and engaging with new people.
You can even host such informal business networking events to build connections and enhance your brand’s reputation.
Round table meetups:
These meetups are for business owners looking to gain insight into their industry’s know-how.
You will be presented with the opportunity to meet people who operate in the same industry or are in similar situations as your business.
Roundtables encourage open discussions to cultivate new approaches and solutions to an entrepreneur’s difficulties. Such in-person networking opportunities can help you see things in a different light.
These are well-known events wherein you can meet other business owners from your region or sometimes even worldwide.
Conferences often involve numerous participants, making it an excellent opportunity to establish connections, listen to speakers, appreciate different perspectives, and learn plenty.
Usually, the speakers are incredibly influential individuals who have learned their lessons and are present to pass on their knowledge.
Attending events specific to your business domain is an ideal opportunity to acquire the knowledge your business requires.
Such events often include pioneers of the industry who are well-aware of business trends and can provide valuable recommendations to the industry and your hurdles.
Industry-specific events are also a great way to refine your employees. For example, if you specialize in marketing, you may bring along employees in similar fields who can benefit from the experience.
Online Professional Networking
Networking on LinkedIn & Facebook
Known to be reliable business networking platforms, LinkedIn and Facebook are convenient for small businesses.
The platform offers millions of potential networking contacts and even recommends individuals you can connect with based on your profile.
The digital era has opened up new doors for online networking and is an excellent business option.
You can explore people in the same industry as you, join groups or forums, follow well-known business personalities, and even publish interactive and knowledge content.
Such activities will help you gain recognition on the platform, empowering you to build relationships valuable in the future.
After connecting with people, you can even message them to schedule an appointment or video/phone call to take this opportunity further.
Such platforms are also great to interact with local businesses and also update people about upcoming events to attend.
Networking on Twitter
Twitter is also a great platform to network with your industry companion to discuss specific industry or niche issues of interest.
You’ll need to log onto Twitter, see what hashtags are trending regarding the particular post, and comment using the right hashtags!
Ensure your profile includes a link to your website if you have one or mirrors your brand’s vision effectively. An informative and up-to-date profile on your social media platforms will help your potential connections better understand your brand.
Networking through Online conferences
Conferences and events don’t necessarily have to take place in person!
You can be a part of web conferences and still have a wonderful experience. Not only are online conferences popular, especially in uncontrollable situations like the pandemic, but they are utterly convenient.
You can discover new trends, gain better market insight, and build connections with the comfort of sitting at home with merely a laptop or phone.
Useful Tips to keep in mind while doing Business Networking
Be clear with company goals and objectives:
Before you approach anyone to build a network, you must be extensively aware of your brand and its goals. You must be mindful of what you want out of the networking scenario and what you can provide in exchange.
Have an “Elevator Pitch” ready:
What is an Elevator Pitch?
In simple terms, it is a quick summary of what your business is, who your clients are, and the value or unique features you offer them. Such a strategy intends to deliver your message within 60 seconds, keeping it crisp and informative.
An elevator pitch helps cope with any anxiety you have when approaching someone and keeps you prepared to highlight your brand’s vision perfectly.
Always carry business cards:
Business cards are necessary to ensure your new connections or customers recognize and remember you. Whether you attend a business conference or participate in a trade show, being equipped with your business cards is crucial.
Your business card gives your connection essential contact information if they want to follow-up in the future.
However, you need to ensure that your business cards are well designed and contain all the information a potential client would need to contact you.
Be social around people:
Of course, to successfully network with people, you must adopt specific social skills to communicate effectively.
The more people you speak to, the more opportunities of new clients, partners, or even mentors you will find. To help you greet people without any hesitation, read up on the event and its participants.
Information about them will encourage you to start conversations effortlessly when you approach them, making your relationship-building process easier.
Follow-up with potential clients:
If you’ve managed to build connections and meet people who have offered to do something for you, or you have promised to do something for them, be sure to get in touch with them.
By delivering as you’ve promised, you’ll be able to build your brand’s reputation as well.
Follow-ups can encourage a long-lasting business relationship, so pick up the phone and to it!
If executed properly, networking can transform your business and build the market exposure that your company has always needed.
Without investing stacks of money, you will make long-term connections and understand how the industry works more efficiently. Whether it means finding new referrals, partners, or mentors, networking is especially beneficial for entrepreneurs looking to expand their small businesses.
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Associate Growth Manager
Prashant is Associate Growth Manager in PagarBook and manages all the organic web presence for brand.