Strong business networks and relationships can lead to new customers, improved management skills and the discovery of new ideas. Building a business network is brutally important and extremely helpful for any entrepreneur.
There is more than one way and one place to network, but efficient networking can help you make new contacts and create exciting new business opportunities.
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
The objective of business networking is to reach out to potential business associates, foster relationships and build a business network of valuable contacts.
Business Owners rarely make enough time to network and only some even see going out for a trade shows, industry meets or other social events as an opportunity to network with others. But, building a mutually beneficial business network should be a priority for every entrepreneur. You need to understand it as an investment, not a cost.
You can also engage with the entrepreneur communities like Trdinoo and others online as well. A rule of thumb is to ask around and see what type of activities your peers are attending. Workshops, conferences and trade shows are excellent ways of meeting new people and offer terrific opportunities for business development. The events scheduled by your local chamber of commerce are another source of ideas for events you can attend.
Build a Quality Business Network
Building a quality business network takes time and trust. The way you approach people in your business network says everything about your commitment to quality and personal care. Because it takes time and work, fewer people bother. That leaves a perfect opportunity for those who are committed to quality. Entrepreneurs have to earn those quality business relationships, and that takes time and trust.
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It’s better to have 10 mutually beneficial relationships in your network than 100 casual contacts. Put time and effort into building relationships of trust with connectors and influencers in your industry. Cultivate these connections by Connecting with peers in your own industry in the first step in building your business network.
Be Valuable to your Business Network
You want to be the reason people in your network earned a client, got a new opportunity, gained status, received kudos. You want to be the best thing that ever happened to their bottom line. That makes you valuable, and it ensures a strong connection between you and them.
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Think of it this way! You want to be the person that people in your network brag about to the other friends and acquaintances of theirs: “This is the man/women I know, and look at what he/she has done for me.”
Things to Remember to Expand Your Business Network:
- Always have your business cards with you.
- Pay attention to your appearance because people will be looking at you from across the room. First impressions count for a lot.
- Prepare a brief “elevator speech,” introducing yourself and your business. This will be especially helpful if you’re nervous about meeting new people.
- Avoid the trap of spending your time with people you know. Make an effort to speak to new people.
- Focus on what you can do for others, not what they can do for you.
- Be curious about what other people do. Ask questions.
- Learn How to Have a Good Conversation
- Avoid hard selling. Don’t monopolize people’s time. Remember that everybody is there for the same reason as you: To network.
- When you leave a conversation, ask for their permission to contact them and suggest a goal for the meeting.
- If you don’t follow up, you might as well have not have networked at all.
Finally, make people in your network feel important, special and unique – the same way you want to be treated. Because we all want the same.
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