If you own a small business you have probably already figured out that networking is an important part of keeping it thriving. Even though many people are intimidating at the idea of networking, there is no need to be. Here are some networking tips for small businesses.
The first tip is to use an opportunity for networking as you would taking the time to make new friends. Establishing personal connections with those your business can benefit from is one of the keys to long term success. However, it is important to understand that in order to do so you need to listen as much as you need to talk. An equal exchange of ideas is the only way to truly make a connection.
The second tip is to research those you will be networking with before an event. The more informed you are about who they are and what you do, the more valuable the experience will be for you. It is also important to have intelligent questions in mind to ask. This shows that you are engaged and interested in the networking process.
There is nothing wrong with networking in pairs. Just ensure that the person you attend networking events with does not work for the same company that you do. When you attend with a partner you can boost each other’s confidence and help each other promote your businesses in a positive light.
Whether you are alone or in a pair, every networking event should start with you introducing yourself to others in an interesting way. You can do this by sharing an interesting anecdote with them. It makes the interaction more memorable and shows your enthusiasm for your job and your company.
For every person you network with, it is important to identify one thing that you can do to help them. Simply offering them a favor gives them a reason to value you and your input. Even something as simple as introducing two individuals that you know to each other can leave a lasting impression that may in-debt both of them to you.
Your goal should be to leave every networking event you go to with at least one friend that you didn’t have when you walked in. Approaching events this way is always better than approaching them as nothing more than an information gathering session.
One of the biggest mistakes made at networking events is not following up afterwards. Before parting ways with anyone you have met, ask them if they prefer to keep in contact through email or phone calls. Following up with their preferred method can help form long term relationships that will lead to more success for the future of your business.