Maybe you have heard of the term networking.
You may have even networked before.
But for your business, strategic networking is needed to guarantee that growth and success that you are looking for.
Creating a business network is one of the most effective ways of growing your business. It can be cost efficient and offers business owners the opportunity to control their public image, contributions and the amount of business growth. You can use networking to market yourself in such a way that other methods would not facilitate.
Here are some essentials for business networking.
Creating an online/offline presence
As a business owner you need to work on the brand image of yourself and your company. This applies to the online and the offline space. Ensure that your values and the qualities you want people to know stand out. Present yourself as someone special or even a better option than your competitors. Try to be seen as someone pleasant and positive.
Dress in professional and appropriate attire at all times. Post bright cheery professional and even casual photos of yourself online to show different sides of your personalities. That is the business-like image showing you as competent and incharge. You want those who are about to connect with to see you as an expert in your business. Everything should be in support of this view. You can even publish your more casual moments to show you’re human and enjoy the finer things in life.
The best way to achieve this is a clearly laid out plan. Plan your Networking strategy. Ensure that you address your image and purpose in this strategy because this will be how you will be seen by all who you come across. This is your opportunity to control how you’re seen.
Connecting with like-minded people and your ICP ( ideal customer profile)- (Online and offline)
Again you’ll see how a networking strategy works for you. It will help you to determine who are suitable people to connect with. You want to make sure that the people in your business network are relevant to your business goals.
You need to determine who will best support your business growth and then work on getting them in your network. The relevance of an individual or a group may vary depending on the business and the business goals. What works for one business may not work for another. You want your network to be as much leverage as possible.
And then there is the snowball effect. Meeting networks of networks. So once you establish and meet with those who are relevant networks they can become facilitators for you. They can introduce you to people in their network who can benefit you and your business. Don’t be surprised also if your non business networks help you find great people for your network. They too can help to build your network and help you be seen as trustworthy.
There are also many online spaces that facilitate networking. Use these to your advantage. Familiarize yourself with the platform or group rules to see how best these can work for you. Ensure that your profile is a good representation of you and try to be as active as possible.
Attending networking events
Whether being social is something you like or not, networking events present the opportunity to meet people face to face and offer to be networks. You may or may not know anyone at a networking event but you should attend. You won’t be the only one there like that and there is already the preexisting knowledge that everyone is there to network.
Dress appropriately for the event and make a good first impression. Talk with people, share information about yourself and your business. Give them a chance to share too. Be respectful and allow for conversations to flow both ways. You can offer your business cards and to follow each other on social media platforms to cement that connection. Since the pandemic many events are online. If you are attending a networking event online, prepare to engage. Try to join conversations and participate as much as possible to get to know people.
Get into the habit of attending events that could present networking opportunities for you. You can even host your own networking event to benefit you and others.
If you have not started, It is not too late to start networking.
Take these essentials into consideration to help you. If you have been networking. How has it been going? Use these to improve.