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For small business owners, their time is precious as it directly factors into their revenue income. However, the time and energy spent on networking should never be taken for granted. It’s also a powerful tool for any company that plans on attracting new business leads that open up potential prospects through the exposure of your trade.
Keep in mind that networking can happen virtually anywhere. Some of it happens via person to person engagements, over the phone, or through cyberspace. Take time to engage with new leads and customers, as the effort seldom goes to waste.
Networking helps you exchange ideas, gather new perspectives, and grow your business. Before I go on touting why networking is so great for brand awareness, here are insightful tips you could borrow.
Keep making new friends
Take time to link up with other small business owners. You can do this online through social media without moving from your desk. As a sign that you are interested in their business, follow them with your business account. You can even mention their businesses or products via posts or tweets. Such a gesture is small or minuscule but it earns you a ton worth of goodwill.
You can increase your network by guest blogging as every share will reach a new person who will now know what the company is all about. This also boosts your credibility as an influencer in the field. Alternatively, you can have another person guest blog about your business and reach out to their networks who they deem trustworthy.
It doesn’t have to be a long movie-like video, you can have it recorded via webcam in under a minute. Go for a casual tone and avoid hard-sell tactics.
Social media is a powerful networking strategy that allows the customer to send video messages through social sites like Skype. This has a stronger personal appeal than sending out a marketing video to people in the hundreds of thousands.
Some people prefer the word ‘selectively’ instead. In my case, ‘stratgeically’ will do. Not everyone who ‘networks’ will perform better than you. Some who ignore it altogether outperform everyone. The idea is not to go out yapping about your business to everyone, but to carefully select those who will be of value and make the most noise there.
Take time to pick the right events and gatherings that the most to your business. At times, you can even attend random events just to gauge their worth. Never attend a conference or event out of habit, especially if they do not offer value for time or money.
Before I attend a networking event I would focus on:
- Cost – How much does it cost to attend or participate in an organization.
- Your industry – Only attend public events after receiving an invitation.
- Invite-only – It’s good to attend public events, however, invitation-only are more serious and focussed.
- Size – You can estimate the number of people who will attend a regular event by considering the size.
If you want to succeed in the business world, networking is key. If you do it right, your business will reap the reward of:
Networking helps you make new friends as an individual and as a business. It doesn’t matter whether you are a ‘mom and pop’ shop or a law firm, good relations with the community means good business.
Networking groups and events are strong sources for referrals. The referrals in most cases will be prequalified to meet your unique circumstances. That way you can utilize that opportunity to convert the party into a permanent client. In most cases, you get high quality leads from referrals than through blanket marketing.
Regular networking helps you communicate with different people, a fact that will boost your confidence levels. As a business owner, you must have the ability to connect with different individuals who have different personalities. This, in turn, helps you marshal confidence and improves your business acumen.
Business owners who display confidence and motivation in what they do, always attract new opportunities. The more diverse the group, the more you can get out of it. All opportunities adopted must avoid anything harmful to the business.
By using the word “opportunity” it can be a speaking chance, business sale, asset, partnership, joint venture, or lead.
When networking, maintain a positive circle that is good for the growth of your business. Positive vibes are great for growth. As a business owner, anything that will try to frustrate you with your business is worth avoiding. If you love your business, it will thrive.
Networking helps build connections as the world of business is pegged on ‘who’ you know and ‘what’ they know. A thriving business racks up just enough connection to keep off enemies. Connections help you get help when you need it. Networking helps you connect with influential persons who wouldn’t have known of your existence before. Always remember that each person you get to know also has a network of their own with potential clients that could one day walk into your store or order your product.
A profile boost
Networking helps a business person boost their personal profile thus gaining visibility. Attend the most relevant social and business events to get adequate exposure. Create a solid reputation for yourself as a person who can be relied upon, knowledgeable in their field, and willing to share useful information and tips to anyone who needs it.
Networking always has a way of linking together people who are like-minded. Such people can advise you on the best ways of running a business. Networking gives you advice and expertise on subjects you barely knew or understood. Take extra care to determine whether the person offering to advise is trying to help you or bring you down.