Networking Know-How: 6 Easy Ways to Network As an Entrepreneur or Business Owner by Candace Pendleton
Your professional experiences influence your networking skills. There are some ways to improve your skills and increase your chances of connecting with others as an entrepreneur or business owner. Here are six easy ways to network and help grow your business:
1. Find Communities That Work With You
One of the most effective ways to build a network is through networking organizations designed to connect professionals. Use social media to find groups that share common interests and participate in discussions. You can also look for niche groups based on specific industries or demographics. Try branching out and participating in in-person or online communities for your hobbies. Doing so could lead to unexpected connections.
Before you start meeting new people in a new networking environment, plan how you will approach them. For instance, you should create an elevator pitch that will quickly explain the company’s services and how they can help you meet other professionals. You can also research speakers and topics that are relevant to your industry. You can also give away business cards during in-person meetings. In addition to your contact information and name, consider adding a personal touch to your card.
3. Attend Events
One of the most effective ways to expand your network is by attending various events. Videoconferencing can allow you to connect with people in different locations and disciplines. In-person networking events can also allow you to meet individuals who share similar goals. Social events and learning sessions provide an environment where you can socialize and develop new skills. These also allow you to learn something that you might not have the time or resources for.
4. Get Involved
Building strong relationships within your local community can help you expand your reach and introduce your company to new customers. It can also provide you with opportunities to learn more about other businesses in the area. For instance, distributors and suppliers can offer lower prices on their products and services due to the lower transportation costs.
In addition to being able to reach out to customers, businesses in other industries can also become partners with one another. For instance, if you’re looking to expand your warehouse or storefront, connecting with other businesses in the area can help you find the best possible location.
Knowing what’s available in your community can also help you develop a plan for expanding and reaching out to more potential customers. If you’re in the early stages of your business development, having conversations with the people in your area can help you understand what they’re looking for.
5. Maintain Relationships
After you’ve made a connection, use social media or email to expand the scope of your relationship. You can also reach out to people after your initial meeting to keep up with the changes in their lives. Focusing on providing value to other professions can help you maintain relevance.
You should always maintain a friendly and professional demeanor when interacting with others. Doing so can help you grow your credibility and attract more potential customers. Business leaders can also promote their organizations to their network.
6. Ask Good Questions
Before you start connecting with other professionals, it’s important that you thoroughly research the industry to find out what questions to ask. Having a goal to learn more about a particular aspect of the business can help you find solutions to your problems. One way to improve the quality of your interactions with other people is by starting a weekly discussion group dedicated to entrepreneurial topics, which can benefit the community.
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