Building a strong small business network is very important for the success of any small business. Business networking is more than business cards and LinkedIn profiles. In fact it is the most effective way to build strong and long-term relationships and expand your customer base. Here are some of the best tips for small businesses to expand their networking?
What should you do upfront? What must you do at the event? Who need to be on your list to meet when networking? Networking can be a job, and it can be hard to make it through an event – not to mention make your presence felt in a crowd.
So here are some of the small business networking tips that will help you to turn challenging things into what you can get acknowledged in the market:
Networking Tip 1: Have Clear Objectives
Conferences are more common these days. Specifically, people are moving from one conversation to another, quickly. It is easy to get lost in the flow of things. Discover clear points of session to show up in a conversation, who you want to meet, and what you want to take away, before the conference.
Networking Tip 2: Stay in the Same Place Where Conference Is Being Held
Networking events and activities will probably be held there or nearby. Similarly to this, most of the speakers, panelists, participants and so forth will be staying in the same place and this will help in breaking the ice and can lead to some additional opportunities for a conversation in the conference.
Networking Tip 3: Prepare Well Ahead Of Time
In case there are some specific attendees, speakers, or vendors you want to meet and talk to, do your research and prepare well before the conference time. Go through their recent articles, books and so on. You can also connect with them on social media portals such as Twitter to follow them and engage in conversations. Additionally you have to prepare for your initial questions before conference.
Networking Tip 4: Share a Tweet before Attending Conference
Use the same way as stated above. Let them know that you value and have an interest in their work and that you would like to introduce yourself at conference. Exhibit that you are aware of the value of their time and make sure that you only want to take a minute.
One among the biggest mistakes people can make in their first contact is to try to plan a meeting at lunch or dinner. Make the first move and lead with value. In case you do this, you are more likely get some follow-up time and a longer meeting if required.
Networking Tip 5: Avoid the Helicopter Approach
Commonly at conferences I see people start to approach someone they would like to meet only to stop 5-10 feet away and go into “hover mode”. Nothing makes a person more worried than the possibility that a stalker is close. Seeing you in “hover” mode, the person you hope to meet will most likely already be expressing their exit strategy. Complete your approach and introduce yourself.
Networking Tip 6: Conversation Starters
If at some unspecified time the conversation gets stuck, always have some conversation starters to get it going. Here are some examples.
- “Where are you from?”
- “How long have you been with company?”
- “Where were you before joining this company?”
- “What involved you in the conference?”
- “What are you hoping to get out of this conference?”
- “What sessions/speakers are you looking forward to?”
- “Will you be attending different conferences this year?”
Networking Tip 7: Be Approachable
Don’t spend all of your time outside the conference sessions using your phone. By socializing and looking open and involved, you will make it more likely that someone else, looking for someone to speak to, will approach you.
Networking Tip 8: Be Focused On Conversation
Even as it’s good to meet authors, speakers, and other VIP’s at a conference, but don’t spend your full time in trying to connect with them. By doing so, you will miss innumerable other chances. Instead, you need to spend your time in listening, learning and connecting with others who have similar interests and objectives as you. The time you spend on the conference will be much more worthy.
Networking Tip 9: Plan a Schedule
Know who is talking where and when with regards to your interests and conference objectives. You can’t be everywhere at once, and the best sessions fill up quickly. You don’t need to miss the chance to be in the conference with that one person you are hoping to meet or listen.
Networking Tip 10: Use Social Media to Share Update about Conference
Share Tweet or publish a post on other social media platforms about the conference while you are attending it. Tag people you have met, or hope to meet, and make complimentary, wonderful comments regarding their session, topics, panels and the conference itself. Always play the game of #hashtag.