Networking is an essential part of any business owner’s growth strategy. It’s a way to get your name out there, connect with other professionals in your industry, and potentially land more clients or even a job. But networking can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start, particularly for those just starting out. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Let’s break down three ways to get started.
Start With Your Existing Contacts
Networking should start with leveraging the contacts you already have. Reach out to people you already know and tell them about your business, what services or products you offer, and what type of customers or clients you are looking for. You never know who might have an opportunity that would be perfect for you. Plus, it’s always easier to start with people who are familiar with your work or accomplishments—you’ll feel more comfortable talking about yourself when they already understand the value that you bring to the table.
Another great way to network is by attending events tailored to business owners and professionals in relevant industries, whether your own or your clients’. Events provide the perfect opportunity to meet other people who may be able to help grow your business or provide helpful advice. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards and an elevator pitch so that when someone asks what your company does, you can succinctly explain it in one sentence. Don’t forget- networking isn’t just sharing about your own services; it also means taking time out of your day to listen and learn from those around you as well- collaborating with others is a fantastic way to expand your network and gain trust in your industry’s community.
Finally, follow up after meeting new contacts! This could mean sending an email thanking them for their time or offering some helpful advice that came up during your conversation. If appropriate, suggest coffee dates or lunch meetings where further discussion could take place (even if it’s virtual). Following up is a great way to stay in touch and create more meaningful connections.
Networking doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start by reaching out to existing contacts and telling them about what services/products/customers/clients you’re looking for; attend events tailored towards relevant industries; follow up after meeting new contacts so they remember who you are; and most importantly—listen as much as possible while conversing with new contacts because often times they will provide invaluable knowledge!