“No man is an island,” as former Yahoo! Director, Tim Sanders once said, “Your network is your net worth.” For many successful business leaders, they have built their career upon their ability to build meaningful relationships and strong networking channels over time.
Irrespective of which industry or sector you are in, networking should be taken seriously if you truly want to achieve professional success. Networking is not only about exchanging information and ideas, but also serves as an avenue to create opportunities and procure supporting resources.
Being a young entrepreneur can be lonely or even panic-inducing at times. However, building a strong network whereby you can reach out to a fellow founder can be especially helpful for you to maintain a positive mindset and further grow your business. Inspiration, Investment, Information, Innovation, Identification, Insight, and Improvement, are seven of the many areas where your network can support your entrepreneurial growth. Check out these 7 ‘I’s in 7 Top Reasons Why Networking Is Important for SMEs, and learn why you should start networking to prospective clients or collaborative partners today to build your career in the future.
Any business from manufacturers to tech hubs can benefit from meeting people in the same industry and making individual connections. It can all start from a handshake and an introduction. Although it takes times to create your network, like anything in life, if there’s a will there’s a way. Here are 5 tips that you can follow to fine tune your networking skills.
1. Do your homework and sell your specialty. Preparation is always important. This can include anything from conducting research ahead of an event regarding who will be attending the same event as you, to researching the history of potential partner organizations before an introductory zoom call. This research can help you to think about how you can sell your skills or your enterprise’s specializations. Take this time to think about what makes you distinct from other companies, your unique selling point (USP) and how you will communicate this. These preparations prior to any events or meetings will ensure that you are equipped and ready to sell yourself and your business to the right person in the right way.
2. Use a marathon mentality. Shaking hands and taking business cards does not necessarily mean you have created a real and lasting relationship. It is equally important to ensure that you adopt a long-term approach to networking, and follow up with new contacts. This can be as simple as sending emails after an event or making phone calls to new leads.
3. Utilize LinkedIn and cross promotion. LinkedIn is a powerful platform that connects professionals in virtually any industry. It has transformed the networking world by allowing individuals to find like-minded entrepreneurs or clients by interest or industry, digitally. On LinkedIn, joining different online professional groups to access peer support can also help in building your network, enhancing your skills and growing your business. In many cases, by cross promoting, using LinkedIn or other social channels, in addition to partnering with other business, it is possible to build a highly effective promotion strategy whilst decreasing your marketing and advertising costs.
4. Use your website to grow your email list. Making social media connections is both convenient and important. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on social media when building lasting and valuable relationships. Instead, you should direct all attention to and create a network around your website. Creating a strong email list is a concrete way to build your digital network, as well as enhance your business presence and reach.
5. Focus on building a community. Think about how to add value to your network as well as how others can benefit from connecting with you to gain access to it. A business network can become a supportive community that both generates positive business opportunities and supports your existing existing work with partners and customers. It is important to see your business community as critical to the success of your business; a network that you can rely upon and that can rely upon you for support, insights and connections. A business community or network can be an important place to learn about what others around you are working on, what is needed in your business community, and about upcoming opportunities. Therefore, a digital network not only benefits your bottom line, it also benefits your support for clients.
For more advice and tips about how to better network for your business, check out our top picks for this week, The Importance of Networking for SMEs, Networking for Small Business Owners, and Digital networking: Using your website to grow your business.
Looking for a network that can help you connect to fellow entrepreneurs and potential investors around the globe? Create your profile and join the Ye! Community now! You can also post and exchange information with fellow entrepreneurs, coaches and investors on the Ye! Stream!