Whatever size of business you currently run or hope to run in the future, networking is a crucial part of its growth. It provides you with an effective way of gaining connections and helps to open doors to influential and skilled people who can help to be a catalyst for the growth of your company. It can help to build your business’ reputation.
Knowing it is important is not quite the same as knowing how to do it effectively. Fortunately, we are here to help, by providing you with 5 great tips for building your business network.
One of the best sources of contacts and potential clients and customer leads is from the local area where your business is based and operates. If you are not sure how to contact like-minded people in the same industry or related industries locally, there are a variety of places online and institutions you should consider joining or frequenting.
Sites like Meetup.com and Facebook groups, as well as business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.
2. Find Virtual Networking Groups
Obviously, we face challenging times at the moment, and it is a lot harder to make face-to-face meetings a possibility. Fortunately, there is a lot of great virtual networking groups you can join. There you can meet up with like-minded people either through email, Skype or other types of voice and video calls.
Even when things are not tightly restricted, like business face-to-faces and things like that, you can see use these virtual networking groups as quick and easy ways to put you and your business out there and get to know people.
3. Develop Referral Partner Relationships
Another way to improve awareness of your business and its brand is by developing strong business relationships with your referral partners. If you want them to be fully motivated to refer others to your business, you need to show them that their help and support of your business is not only welcomed but appreciated. That will help to build their loyalty.
4. Be Helpful
Rather than trying to gain and receive for your business, it is far more productive when building a network if you try to be as helpful as you can. This is true when it comes to other companies that you are looking to ally with or with customers you are hoping will become repeat customers or will refer you to their family and friends.
When you build a reputation as a helpful business, more people within your industry and connected industries will have a positive impression of you and be more willing to refer you to clients and their connections.
5. Always Remember to Follow-up
What is the point in putting all that initial effort into establishing connections with the people you are networking, taking names, email addresses and phone numbers, if you don’t follow-up on them? Most networked contacts will remain just that, contacts, unless you really work at them, and that means calling them up and continuing to build on the successful groundwork you laid.