Networking is an important part of establishing and growing your accounting business. Getting clients through the door is a constant challenge, but networking can play a huge part in your acquisition strategy. No longer limited to formal business events, networking comes in all shapes and sizes, and can be as simple as developing relationships with those in surrounding industries. As we all know, sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know. So where do you start?
1 Do your research
Networking events for accountants can come in a variety of forms, from small meetups to industry-wide events. The first step is to do your research and find out what your options are. What events are in your area? Look far and wide, from intimate local gatherings to big national conferences. Also consider not just networking events that are for accountants, but those that cover the finance industry as a whole or specialise in fintech. Get to know others within your industry and beyond.
2 Find a friend
Networking can be an intimidating prospect, so don’t go it alone. If you’re new to networking, find a friend, co-worker or fellow accountant to come with you. Find someone who has similar objectives and is willing to work the room with you. Just don’t fall into the trap of only talking to each other all night.
3 Be prepared
Be ready to answer questions about who you are and what you do. You don’t need to have a sales pitch prepared, but come ready to showcase your interests and areas of expertise. Proudly introduce your business and talk about your strengths and what you love to do. Think of engaging and thoughtful questions you can ask others ahead of time. Bring along your business cards, be open to swapping numbers and add your new contacts on LinkedIn.
4 Work the room
If you’re new to networking, it can be easy to get stuck in one or two conversations. Learn the art of working the room and moving around. Aim to meet at least 3 new people every time you attend an event and don’t be afraid to walk up to strangers and introduce yourself.
5 Keep in contact
When you make a genuine connection with someone at one of your networking events, be sure to keep in contact. Networking is not just about what happens on the night or during a conference, it’s about maintaining relationships long term. If you go to a meetup that is on regularly, attend as often as you can – become a familiar face. Soon, you’ll be well known in your industry, which may just result in new business for your firm.
6 Take a leap
Once you become more comfortable with the networking circuit, it may be time to raise the stakes. Could you host a meetup in your local area? Could you put your name forward as a presenter on a panel or could you simply help coordinate a bigger event. Take a step out of your comfort zone, after all, networking is all about what you put into it.