For most businesses, building financial capital is important. However, investing in your social capital is equally important. This is the concept of your company’s ideas, knowledge, contacts and resources with intangible value, and your company’s relationships with others in the industry. Building social capital will enhance your company’s visibility, and will also add to your company’s image in the industry. Here are some of the ways in which your business can better cultivate social capital:
1. Network regularly: Meet with other professionals in the industry often. Keep track of important events and conferences and attend them in order to learn valuable insights and also expand your existing network of contacts. Exchange ideas, and engage with people on multiple levels. Leverage the power of social media to stay in touch and build up levels of trust, leading to possible collaborations in the future.
2. Share and exchange valuable resources: When you interact with prospects, business contacts and potential leads, approach communication with the motive to contribute something valuable. This will interest others in establishing contact with you, and will also give you exposure to useful ideas, thoughts and industry expertise. Exchanging resources with people when you network will help you add a lot more to your social capital.
3. Find opportunities with your prospects: Try to connect your prospects with others in your company, and have a conversation that lets you understand what they are looking for. If you do this, you will also be able to understand how your company can provide a feasible solution or idea to the prospect. Ask them open-ended questions including what they hope to accomplish in the field, and be a good listener so that you encourage them to connect with you better.
4. Give back to the community: Building social capital also involves giving back to the community – either through social responsibility efforts, crowd-funding, or support to local non-profit organizations. This will give your audience and prospects the impression that you are prepared to go above and beyond just your domain expertise.
5. Build a good reputation in the industry: Professionalism is always appreciated. Try to deliver projects on time, treat others with courtesy and fulfill business commitments ethically and responsibly. Your reputation will grow over time, will build recall among those in the industry and will add a lot to your overall social capital. By maintaining professionalism in everything you do, it will also be much more likely for you to get good referrals.
There are multiple ways to build up your social capital and maximize your company’s value and improve its standing in the marketplace. A successful company implements practices that will add to both its social and financial capital to enhance its standing in the market.