Networking might not always be at the top of your priority list. It can be awkward, time-consuming and downright un-appealing after a long day at work. But it’s also one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you can do for yourself and your business.
It’s not easy to introduce yourself to a bunch of strangers. But like social media, SEO or brand awareness, networking is another investment into your business's future. Just like a good social media presence or strong brand identity, good networking can be the difference between a successful business and a bust.
Keep your business on the successful side of the scale by using the following tips to up your networking game.
Understanding What Networking Is and Why You’re Doing It
First off, networking is a different kind of investment. Crunching numbers isn’t going to work here. You need to remember that you are dealing with people. Going into a networking event with a “What can you do for me” attitude is going to sink your efforts before they ever set sail.
Networking’s ROI isn’t about making a quick buck and cannot always be measured in dollars and cents either. It’s about making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships that will benefit both parties in the coming days, weeks and years. Be patient, good things come to those who wait.
Put Yourself in the Right Situations
Don’t stumble around in the wrong room hoping to get lucky. There is no shortage of networking events, meetups and trade shows, but a dog groomer isn’t going to be making the best use of their time at a boat show.
Make sure you are doing the right prep work before an event too. News travels fast, so make sure your peers, prospects and prospective business partners know you’ll be attending an event. Post about it on social media, tag the company and invite your peers! The more hype surrounding an event, the better it will become, benefitting all who attend in the long run. Don’t forget to take a peek at the guest list too. You never know who might be attending or what opportunities could arise.
Be Genuine, Honest and Engaging
Networking is about building rapport and creating relationships. Leave the sales pitch at home and don’t forget to pack your smile. You want people to remember you, enjoy speaking with you and find value in what you are saying. People are much more likely to do business or partner with someone they find interesting.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. A great conversation at an event is only the beginning. Get in touch within 48 hours of meeting someone to show that you are interested and available. Don’t forget to add a bit of personal touch by referencing something you discussed. This helps you sound more interested and helps jog the other person’s memory.
Now get out there and expand that network, make connections and meet new people! Even better, we’ve got a place for you to do it! Come meet, mingle and network with the BizX community on March 24th in Tacoma!
The next BizX happy hour is taking place this Thursday at the Hub in Tacoma. There will be a room full of entrepreneurs, business owners and BizX members looking to network and make connections. Come out and let BizX buy you a drink – we’d love to see you!