Whether you’re after a hot new business lead or just looking to connect with like-minded industry professionals, networking is a skill that can get you there. Executed well, networking not only boosts your personal brand, but helps you reach your business targets faster. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to master the art. Here are five tips.
1. Have your business cards ready to go
Great business opportunities await you everywhere, whether at a networking event or your local coffee spot. That’s when business cards come in handy. Having something to offer new acquaintances will keep you front-of-mind and increase your chances of people reaching out when they need your help or advice. So, make sure your contact details are up-to-date and you’ve always got a few cards with you.
2. Find and attend local networking events
At a networking event, everyone has the same objective: to meet new people and form fruitful business connections, making it the ideal place to mingle with like-minded pros. You can find networking events online through websites such as Eventbrite, the Australian Business Forum, and Business.gov.au. Of course, social media is also a great place to look for networking opportunities. Try other business Facebook pages, special interest groups, or simply scroll through the ‘events’ section.
3. Make connections online
Networking online allows you to meet people in your own time and from the comfort of your home or office. LinkedIn is a great place to get started; it’s a social media platform for business professionals, meaning fellow members will likely be just as eager to connect as you are. Reach out to people you already know by connecting your address book or using the LinkedIn suggestions feature. You can also join groups to find valuable connections in your industry that you haven’t met. Including a friendly message when connecting with a new member will give your invite a more personal touch.
4. Start blogging
Creating quality blog posts that feature compelling, timely content will help you establish your business as a thought leader. These posts will garner exposure for your emerging brand, as well as for you personally as a business owner. Sharing your posts across your social media profiles may help spark conversations that can bloom into new business relationships.
5. Host your very own networking event
Hosting a networking event will put your business front and centre while providing you and your guests with a valuable opportunity to mix and mingle alongside other industry professionals. You’ll be the instigator of valuable relationships among your connections, and likely form some of your own and spotlight your business at the same time. To get the most out of your event, promote it online as well as through eDMs, flyers, and on social media where appropriate.
As a new small business owner, playing the networking field for the first time can be daunting, but rest assured your efforts will be rewarded – with invaluable connections that you’ll be able to draw from now and in the future.
To learn more about marketing your new business, check out these resources.