Does business networking play an important role in small business success?
Is professional networking the last thing on your agenda? Probably so.
As a ‘time-crunched entrepreneur,’ cultivating new business relationships and acquaintances may not be at the top of your list. Sometimes, it is hard to recognize, create or act on business opportunities. But if you’re ready to grow your business and influence, it’s one of the smartest ways to develop immediate traction and awareness for your small business.
Creating a social network takes time and effort. So, here are eleven networking tips to help you instantly build relationships and profit.
1. Go out of your way.
Do someone a big favor, introduce another meaningful connection, provide something amazing to the people you are networking with, and set the standard. It is incredible how much you can gain by going out of your way for someone else.
2. Focus on them.
People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. So, build trust and be likeable by keeping the focus on the other person when you’re conversing with them. Make people feel good in your presence by simply asking them questions, letting them talk about themselves, and being genuinely interested in the conversation.
3. Use their business cards creatively.
When someone gives you their business card, write something descriptive about them or the conversation, that you can reference, on the back of it. Then, follow-up within 24 hours. It demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to being successful.
4. Use LinkedIn to keep track.
When you collect a business card, the next day add that person as a contact on LinkedIn to create a digital catalogue of people you’ve met. Many people think business cards are a passive way of giving and receiving contact information, but this will create an active directory of contacts. You never know when one of those contacts will be immediately relevant to you.
5. Share your story with passion.
When you’re talking with others about your business, allow your passion to shine through and people will find you and your business energizing and interesting. Once you’ve done that, listen. Ask questions about the other person and show genuine interest. With this communication skill, you will get to share what you do and then have the opportunity to learn a thing or two from a fellow entrepreneur.