As small business owners, we understand the importance of networking. Your ability to socialise, to meet people, and to create relationships will very often determine your success in business and how far you’re able to take your company. However, that doesn’t mean most of us are very good at it. We all could stand some improvement.
It is these small hindrances which make networking challenging, but this does not mean you should give up. To survive in business, you must increase your network. Here are a few ways you can do it (despite your slight apprehensions).
Attend networking events
This may seem obvious, but so many people get stuck in the rut of going to the same networking events that always have the same people. Want to expand your network? Go to an event where you don’t know anyone.
When deciding what networking events you are going to attend, be sure there will be people that you can do business with – or will at least be able to connect you with others you can do business with.
Don’t waste your time attending events in which you will be surrounded by your competitors if you anticipate there will be very few qualified connections. You’ll all be competing over the same prospects.
The quickest way to get to meet people is to volunteer. Working registration at events is one of the best and fulfilling volunteer jobs. You see everyone as they come in (and they see you). You usually accomplish a huge obstacle (the first meeting), which makes following up with your targeted prospects much easier.
Expand your social network
In order to widen your business network you have to be socially adept as well. Your business aspirations will only succeed if you are good at talking to people who matter, even if it is just making small talk. Or you could spread the word through social networking.
The newest and in tool that can even get you international support for your business is social networking. Besides LinkedIn, even Facebook, Twitter and other such websites can help you connect with the right kind of people who can enhance your business. Engaging with other people on social media, commenting, liking and following pages is a great way to get your brand or name familiar, thus making it easier to further explore the networking opportunity. It’s easier to network when you have already established rapport with your prospects.