Regardless of your profession, networking is the critical key to accelerating success. It’s efficient for educating directly from persons you meet and improving the authority of your business.
For many entrepreneurs, networking may taste bad. Young entrepreneurs are not sure where to get started to join a networking community.
It’s not what you know but who you know. This applies in particular in an increasingly competitive business environment where healthy relationships can directly impact your profitability.
Entrepreneurs rarely devote sufficient time to networking. Some even consider going for coffee with a business relationship as a waste of time. Establishing a mutually beneficial business network should be a priority for any business owner.
You must have to see this as an investment and not as a cost. Relationships are tremendously important and extremely useful. Strong business relationships can lead to new clients, improved management skills and the discovery of new ideas.
Here are few networking strategies to help entrepreneurs improve their communication skill.
A common mistake is to improvise when it comes to networking. You should not participate in an unexpected event. You must have expected to attend and have a particular purpose – for example, get three meetings with potential clients.
At the beginning of the year, when preparing a business plan, entrepreneurs should also consider their networking strategy and ask questions such as:
- Who can I meet on a regular basis?
- With whom can I do business this year?
OK! At the end of the year, assess how well you have achieved your goals and how your relationships with members of your network have helped your business.
2. Find where to start
A possible rule is to ask you what kinds of activities your peers are participating in. Workshops, conferences and trade shows provide excellent opportunities for new knowledge and business development.
Consulting your local chamber of commerce’s business calendar is another source of ideas for events you may be involved in.
3. Don’t be shy
Participating in networking activities makes people feel uncomfortable because they feel they are in the middle of a party where they don’t know anyone. They can reassure themselves that this is true for all the other participants.
Some reminders when participating in a networking event:
- Bring your business cards.
- Look after your appearance, because people will watch you from afar. The first impression counts a lot.
- Prepare a few good sentences to introduce yourself and describe your business. This will be particularly helpful if you are nervous about meeting people for the first time.
- Spending your time with people you know is a trap to avoid. Make an effort to talk to new people.
- Focus on things what you can do for others and not the other way around.
- Avoid aggressive selling. Interest in what others do. Ask questions.
- Don’t grab people. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason as you: create contacts.
- At the end of a conversation, ask the caller for permission to relaunch the discussion, explaining why.
4. Build relationships with connectors
Better to have ten mutually beneficial relationships in your database than a hundred casual contacts.
Take the time and trouble to build trust with connectors and influencers in your industry. They are the ones, who make things happen. Cultivate these links and do not take them for granted.
5. Be active in social networks
The social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook can be great networking tools, but entrepreneurs should not ignore the power of face to face interaction. Combining both is an excellent way to build trust.
Also read: 3 Bad Communication Habits You Need to Break Immediately
6. Get out of your comfort zone
Creating ties with peers within your industry is the first step in a networking strategy, but you do not have to stop there.
Entrepreneurs often have a narrow vision because they are very focused on their own business. Meeting people from outside your industry can bring a new perspective to your business.