Business networking and relationships are critical for entrepreneurs. Today, many entrepreneurs rely on referral marketing to promote their business. As per a 2012 survey by the Referral Institute, 92 per cent of the 12,000 people said that networking played an important role in their success.
Networking with peers, industry experts and anyone else who can help your business becomes extremely critical. In this post, we take you through some key pointers to help build a network for your dream business:
• Identify the right forums:
Lookout for local and international events relevant to your industry that provide networking opportunities with counterparts from other organizations. Socializing, instead of just sitting down and listening to a speaker, will help grow your network. Attend such events to meet new people ad refrain from spending your time talking to known individuals.
• Look at parallel avenues:
A lot of entrepreneurs work with others from the industry on a project or committee where everyone is striving to achieve some outside objective. This can be an industry body group or an NGO committee for a local charity.
For example, a global network like TiE (that has 57 chapters in 14 countries) is formed by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives and senior professionals across the world. TiE organizes numerous events across regions that helps entrepreneurs network with leading venture capitalists.
• Flash your business card:
One of the most powerful yet ignored weapons is your business card. Business cards are globally recognized as the exchange standard of the networking realm. Despite being a small tool in an entrepreneur’s stash, business cards have a huge impact in today’s digital age. The impression your business card makes has a direct impact on your business.
• Be linked online:
Networking starts when you are connected. That means, regularly communicate with people you meet at various forums. E-mails and social media platforms can be great tools for networking efficiently and constantly staying in touch.
Online communities like StartupNation and NextBigWhat give you the direct access to search and interact with startups who share similar interests and business ideas.
• Organize networking meets:
Plan a small networking session within your group and have a common topic that is of interest to all. These sessions will often culminate in new ideas and opportunities that will benefit your business in the long run.
It’s time you leave things to chance and follow these steps that will help you turn most occasions into opportunities that will help build your startup.