Starting a small business is a talent in itself. It takes guts, drive and entrepreneurship, but these will only get you so far. You hear the advice about the importance of networking, but does anyone really understand what this means? Carry on reading for our guide to networking and how you can go about it.
What is networking?
Networking refers to the process of making a conscious effort to interact and develop mutually beneficial relationships with people in the same field or position as you to help with insight or progression opportunities. It’s important to make these relationships mutually advantageous to establish strong and valuable results for both sides.
What may be holding you back
If networking hasn’t been your strong suit before now, there may be a few reasons for that.
A key factor is your mindset. By seeing these relationships as only beneficial to your business, you’re putting yourself in a position where you don’t feel comfortable seeking people out. It’s important to take some time to understand just how beneficial the other party will find working with you.
Another popular excuse is lack of time. With so much to do to keep your business running, it may seem like networking is impossible. But now you understand the importance of it, make sure to schedule in some time to focus on networking, whether that’s attending a conference or approaching people online via professional sites like LinkedIn.
How to network
There are many ways to start establishing these relationships. A great tip is to be strategic. Take time to assess who would fit with the nature of your business and attend the appropriate events.
You also need to be proactive. Can’t find any suitable events? Then make your own! This will present you as a desirable partner as you’re showing your initiative and proactive approach to business whilst promoting your company in the process. You can advertise your event using flyers or leaflets and by posting about it on social media. On the day of the event, make sure you’ve got plenty of business cards with you so you can share your details easily.
For more on networking take a read of this fantastic article by Indeed: 6 Tips For Networking Business Cards
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