Small Business networking is a useful business tool for all small businesses, providing a platform to meet with like-minded business owners and connect professionally and individually for the growth and development. There are many networking platforms and events available to pick from at different price points and all offering different opportunities.
Here are eight small business networking tips to make sure that you get the best out of your investment.
- Build A Strategy
Consider about what you want to get:
- Improve your business profile
- Get new contacts and learn new skills
- Make referrals
- In case the networking is new thing to you, attend corporate events and talk to the regulars and find out if the group will fit in with your strategy before making any commitment.
- Create Perfect Elevator Pitch
- Create a one-minute elevator pitch which illustrates your small business and your objectives, which consist of your professional understanding and unique selling proposition.
- Be memorable, what makes your business prominent from others?
- Bring props, not just marketing materials and business cards, something that demonstrate your skills or helps others to understand what you do
- Quote success stories of your customers, show how your service or product has helped others
- Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
It is natural to fall towards people who you already know, if that is your situation, examine the people you have yet to meet, promote the opportunity for them to participate in the discussion. Check out for new people, keep in mind the way you first felt when you showed up somewhere new, a pleasant introduction can be highly appreciated.
- Communicate Regularly
Networking takes some time to build up the trust. Communicate regularly, help other people in the network and have an effective follow up. Networking is about building up your network and relationships. You might not get business immediately from an event; however the one person you speak might bring some opportunities for your business.
- Carefully Listen Others In Network
Take an interest in others and find out what they actually want to get from that specific corporate events or meetings.
- See if their objective matches with yours and discover some standard ground
- Can you help them using your own network contacts or make introductions that might be of help?
- Ask lots of questions including how, who, why; this will help to open up discussions and demonstrate your interest. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn from others!
- Make Referrals
If at all possible, frequently offer the person you are referring to with a way of contacting directly with your contact, perhaps e-mail them, check back on progress and see if it was of worth. If you were recommended or referred by a person, keep the individual who made the introduction informed with the progress. If it was successful, you need to thank them at the next meeting, as this not only demonstrates to others that the network is functioning, but it can help to build both your and the referrer’s credibility in the network. In case an introduction wasn’t pertinent, give feedback as to the reasons how and why they can pick out more positive ones in the future for you.
By no means just push your flyers and business cards into people’s hands, small business networking should be about building relationships, credibility and confidence. You may have a service or product that is most likely pertinent to the participants however the difficulty in this type of setting is regularly considered coarse, and doesn’t give a good impression.
- Dress Well
Looking and feeling good is important for your small business networking. This doesn’t suggest that you need to wear a three piece suit, simply appropriate, a clean dress for your line of business. You can also wear a name badge so the people at corporate event can approach you easily and avoid any inelegance in having to recall your name which will also help with introductions.