Business networking is a business activity where entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships, share information, and help one and other build up their businesses. Joining a business network can be a great step for you as an entrepreneur. People like to do business with people they know and trust. A company doesn’t make decisions but a specific person at that company does. A great professional network can open doors for you and your business. You can also learn a lot from people in your network with experience beyond yours.
Joining a business network does not mean that opportunities or new clients will fall into your lap as soon as you start going to networking events. Networking is a wonderful business tool, but you need to put in the necessary legwork for it to work for your business.
Here are some strategies to make networking work for you:
Do your best to help other people in your business network. Helping people in your network grow their businesses may put them in a great position to help you in the future. Try to be a connector, share your ideas and information, or pass on the name of a great resource to someone in your network.
2. Be Persistent and Consistent
It isn’t helpful to make a promise and then not keep it or forget to do something you agreed upon doing. Be consistent in your actions, not only because it is the right thing to do but will also give you a reputation for being reliable. Likewise, stay persistent! Follow up with someone if they told you they would do something for you and then did not, it’s ok to ask again.
3. Be Patient
Don’t expect to pass out a few business cards at a networking event or post on LinkedIn and make instant connections. Networking is about building relationships, which takes time. Stay patient and stay in frequent touch with business contacts you like. Your business will benefit the most from true relationships with others.
4. Meet People
Attending a networking event here and there may bring you some contacts or be a learning experience but immersing yourself in more opportunities to meet others is more beneficial, both for your business and your personal growth. Join groups or clubs, attend conferences and events, join your college alumni association, and ask for introductions to people you wish to meet. This not only increases your visibility to other, but also enhances your opportunities for learning and growing as an entrepreneur.
Networking can work for you if you put in the time and effort!