Let's face it starting or building a business takes a lot of time and energy. Lot's to do and lot's to learn. So, having a network of business partners and associates to turn to for advice and motivation could be the difference between success and throwing in the towel.
You're more likely to achieve success if you're connecting with others who share similar goals and express the enthusiasm to reach those goals. Business networking is a valuable way to build your skills and expand your sphere of influence by learning from the success of others. And, of course, a great way to get new customers and referrals.
Here are the 5 biggest benefits of business networking:
In short, entrepreneurial networking can help you build a successful business.
Ok, you understand the importance of networking, “but how do I go about it” you say. Glad you asked.
Here are some tips to help you expand your network… ideas you can implement starting today.
1) Join Online Communities and Forums
The Internet and social media make it easier and quicker to connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Become a member of Forums that cover topics in your niche or area of expertise. And don't just limit this to business. Find groups that interest you personally. It's a great idea to have a diverse network rather than limiting it to your professional interests only.
2) Attend Live Networking Events
Before heading to events or striking up a conversation, make sure that you’re prepared. Have business cards tucked in your wallet and know what you want to say about your business if the opportunity arises. You don't want to fumble around trying to explain what you do.
Remember, networking isn’t just about you, it’s about connecting and learning about the other person too. This may not be the best time to pitch. Better to listen and possibly learn some great advice from someone that has learned a thing or two about entrepreneurship.
3) Attend Social Events
Attending social events can not only be fun but can provide an opportunity to connect with others in a relaxed atmosphere. Whether the event is for the sole purpose of networking or an enjoyable get-together, it can present a chance to connect and enhance your entrepreneurial network.
4) Get Involved In Your Community
Today, some of us are so focused on the potential to do business globally, we overlook the business opportunities in our own backyard. Volunteer and attend events where you can connect with other business owners and community leaders. This will get your name out there and provide a way to give back to the community as well.
5) Start Talking to Everybody
If you're like me this could be the hardest step yet. This is one skill I've danced around for a long time. I'll admit this is way out of my comfort zone. One of my mentors calls it a professional friend maker. Who knows where your next great idea may come from. That person may have a skill you'd like to know more about. It's a conversation that may or may not lead to an opportunity but meeting new people makes for a more interesting time spent in that line.
6) Follow Up and Engage With Your Connections
The purpose is not to collect as many business cards and phone numbers as you can, it's to connect and develop relationships. And following up with those contacts even if it's to say “great meeting you” can nurture those relationships and lead to an opportunity somewhere down the road… or can become a lifetime friendship.
That's why we're hitting the road! Join our YEP to Freedom Tour networking event… first stop. Philadelphia!
You won't want to miss an opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia area and meet our trainers and coaches for some live training with actions you can put into effect immediately. Go to https://soniaholt.com/yeptour to register.
Networking in Entrepreneurship… Why It Important, By Tigran Ghalumyan
6 Ways to Improve Your Entrepreneur Network Startupgrind, by David Wither
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