Business Networking is fundamental to the success of any business. While building your own business you need to know people who can help and advise you on key factors of your business. The end goal of better business networking is to build connections with people online and offline – on every available platform out there. Every entrepreneur needs to develop strong relationships with experienced people in his niche who can guide him on necessary decisions in his business. Check out these five tips to help you in a better and more beneficial way.
(1) Make the Effort
Accept invitations to all suitable occasions. Show interest. Really make the effort to attend whole heartedly. Don’t go to the event with low expectations – don’t arrive late and leave early. Make sure you arrive promptly and allow enough time to communicate with people before the event is in full swing. It is at this time that you can start building real connections.
(2) Make a Plan
Make a plan and set goals as to how many new people you intend to meet and make new connections with at the event. It is better to focus on three or four solid connections at each networking event than to exchange hundreds of business cards that mean very little to you when you get home! Exchange your business cards with them, and maybe write a personal note for them on the back. It is also a good idea to make notes for the different people that will remind you where you met and what topics or opportunities you discussed.
(3) Don’t Love The Sound of Your Own Voice
You aren’t the only person under the sun who has to set the tone for the conversation by expressing your views about a particular topic. In fact, doing this results in everyone else simply clamming up. One-sided interaction will choke a conversation. If you really want engagement in a conversation you need to listen FIRST. Show respect, allow others to make their point, express their views and opinions. Don’t be too quick to respond; think through your response carefully.
(4) Always Ask Questions
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Being not able to ask questions puts a big question mark on you getting the best answers. If there is an idea that you have been thinking or a problem with your business feel free to ask questions. By asking questions you will benefit from other people’s expertise. Always ask open ended questions to encourage conversation.
(5) Find Relevant Business Networking Groups
Online business networking groups are another great place to build connections. They provide a virtual platform to reach out to new people and expand your networking horizons. Here are some of the resources:
- LinkedIn With well over 200 million professionals LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It lets you grow your professional network, discover business opportunities and all the news and insights you need.
- Meetup Meetup is a social network that lets you connect with people who share the same interests and who live near you. There are a variety of group categories to choose from and join.
- BNI BNI is the world’s largest referral organisation with over 150 thousand members worldwide. BNI works on a system building powerful networks through referrals.
- Chambers of Commerce The BCC is a high-profile business network which has chambers spread all over the UK. Their mission is to “make the Chambers of Commerce an essential part of growing business” and they achieve it by “sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise.”
- Ryze Ryze is another place where you can make quality business contacts ,get advice and tips and make deals for your company.
- Xing Xing allows you to “find useful business contacts as well as work assignments and projects.”
Once you have a proper business networking strategy in place you are sure to make more useful connections and get much better results from the events you attend. The key is to search out the relevant events in your niche, target the type of person you need to build connections with and then aim to start a business relationship with them. Really emphasise the benefits of your products or services and network, network, network!!!
As Robert Kiyosaki puts it,”The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”