Are you a small business owner, struggling to find the time for networking? Time is money in business, but networking with other businesses is the investment you cannot afford to miss out on. ‘’This is the greatest way to generate new leads, keep track of the latest industry trends, and gain knowledge and inspiration from others.’’ – shares Donna Litt, writer at EssayOnTime.
That being said, you are probably thinking: ‘how do I start networking?’ If this has crossed your mind, the 7 tips below will surely help.
1. Go Online to Make Friends
Find other small businesses in your industry and start following them. Show interest in their business by posting on their website, commenting on their posts, and reach them directly. This should help you build relationships with others.
By showing interest in others’ content, you are enticing them to look around your website, too. Guest blogging is known to reap many benefits and put your name out there, while commenting on other blogs will help you build a professional relationship. That being said, if you want to stand out and widen your network, the only way to do this is by starting online.
2. Join Organizations and Forums
Join groups and forums, and organizations in your industry to get a wider network. This should expose you to other small businesses and give you opportunities to meet influential people from your industry.
Social media makes this much simpler nowadays. You can find numerous groups in your industry where you will meet influential people and build on your network. Moreover, forums and organizations can be an excellent source of information for you, as well as a way to keep track of the latest trends in your industry.
3.Invite Some Guests
Make your business a meet and greet place for other small businesses who work in the same industry. This would provide you with the perfect venue to do networking in, as well as a great promotion strategy for your brand.
Of course, this step cannot be taken at the very beginning of your networking journey. Use the other tricks in this list to create a fine network of businesses and coworkers, and continue building those relationships by inviting them over to your business.
4. Attend a Conference
There’s a cost to this and it will take up some of your time, so you better look up conferences before you choose one. If you make the right choice, this will turn out to be a great opportunity to do some networking.
Thankfully, there are such conferences everywhere, so you should not have troubles finding one close to your home. But be aware – sometimes travelling to a conference will be a better opportunity than just choosing the one that is closest to you.
5. Do Cross-promotion
What is cross-promotion? It is a way to get a new audience by finding another small business to promote and bundle your products together, sponsor an event, or print out joint messages on posters and signs.
This tip can be connected to the first one in the sense that you can approach other business owners by reaching them through e-mail or their website, or building a relationship through guest posting and commenting on their posts. Once you have that relationship, you can suggest that you work together toward achieving mutual goals, i.e. doing cross-promotion.
Volunteering is a free and a very rewarding thing to do. In addition to making you feel better, it is a smart decision to take as a small business owner. This lets you network with people in the community, as well as puts you in contact with other businesses.
When you are choosing a thing to volunteer to, select one that is closest related to your business and your industry. You’d be surprised to learn how many people do volunteering. This will be a great opportunity to widen your network with the right people, and will also make you feel good about yourself. Basically, it is a win-win.
7. Maintain the Connections
You probably already have some connections and relationships before you start your business. Your goals are to widen your network, but this will be a failure unless you follow up on the ones you have so far.
So, however you succeeded at widening your network, the only way to keep it big and make it bigger is to keep the people you already included in it close. Keep in touch with people in your network, even if it is just to say hello. Without it, no matter how many new people you reach, growing your network will be impossible.
If you want to promote your business and rise up on the business ladder, you need to understand the importance of networking. These seven tips will help you achieve that!
Guest post courtesy of Serena Dorf