Businesses simply don’t grow if the word doesn’t get out. And although marketing strategies work well, nothing beats meeting people face to face and introducing yourself and your company. Let’s discuss how to network for your business and get you on the road to running a business that reaches its full potential.
Knowing Your Worth
Before trying to network, understand your worth. You have something to offer with your business. Be confident in that fact and let it show when you network. Also, knowing your worth helps protect yourself from networking events that are a waste of your time.
What is your reason for networking? Do you have a plan and goals you hope to accomplish with networking? Take some time to think about those goals and make a plan from there. Possible goals could include finding a business partner, becoming known by word of mouth, discovering resources that can help you or your business, and finding customers.
On the Go
Networking won’t happen if you never leave the house or your business. There are three places that work best for networking: conventions, networking events, and social events. Let’s look at a few of these in greater detail.
If your company doesn’t already offer them, look for national or local conventions that cater to your industry. Conventions often have a lot to offer with educational sessions, business ideas, and—of course—networking. Be prepared before heading to a convention by understanding what’s available there and having your own introduction and business information ready to share.
Networking doesn’t always require a formal business gathering. The neighborhood block party or Tuesday night bingo at the local pub may contain potential customers. Just be careful not to become the annoying neighbor who always wants to talk business. However, if you’re never out socializing, you’ll miss those opportunities when the discussion of your business is perfectly appropriate.
We aren’t all extroverts, eager to get out and chat with others. Still, in order to get to know people and network, you’ll have to learn to make conversation. Come up with a few icebreakers that you can keep in your back pocket and reach for when the conversation seems stagnant, or you don’t know how to begin. A good hint is to start the conversation by asking others about themselves. Most of us love an opportunity to talk about what we do.
Networking is a waste of time if there is no follow-up. Keep track of who said they’d love to talk more or anyone who is even slightly interested in what you had to say about your business. Offer to exchange business cards so that you have each other’s information and remember to follow up within a few days.
Using these tips to network for your business is an important step in business growth. Once you get the hang of networking, you’ll find it’s one of the best and least expensive ways to promote what you do.