If you are an entrepreneur or run a startup, you know networking is crucial: it helps you find business opportunities, make connections that matter in your future and get clients and investors. Even if you’re shy or introverted, if you want to succeed, you need to communicate.
Contrary to popular belief, networking is not just collecting contacts: it’s a way of cultivating relationships and it includes actions such as sending a follow up email after meeting, having honest conversations, staying open-minded, and offering support to others whenever you can. Building a network is about creating a genuine relationship and this is only the start. Maintaining it is key.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of networking and how to build a solid and productive business network.
5 benefits of networking in business
- Business opportunities. In the business world, business opportunities are always coming and going and they require research, hard work, calculated risk, patience, and bold action. Today you are able to connect with lots of the best quality business opportunities through networking, especially at events in your industry. Some of the opportunities that you can find through networking are client leads, partnerships, joint ventures and more.
- Generation of referrals. Referrals are the most effective and cost-efficient way of getting new sales. One of the biggest benefits of networking is that the referrals that you receive are mostly pre-qualified for you.
- Market your business. Networking is a great way to market your business. When you have a new product or service launch, your network should be the first to know.
- Positive Influence. While many business owners start companies to pursue their passion, a new survey by Vistaprint confirms that this feeling doesn’t last forever. No matter how much you love your business, there will be ups and downs. Connecting and networking with other people is motivating and it can remind you why you started your business in the first place and give you the spark to kick it up a notch.
- Make friends. Starting a business can be a lonely and daunting experience. Networking with other entrepreneurs will help you reach the right people who are going through similar experiences and facing the same challenges. Some of the strongest friendships started from networking in the business world.
Business networking tips
Networking can be difficult for introverts or extroverts alike. Here are a few quick tips you might want to consider implementing.
Before and during a networking event
- Prepare an elevator pitch that focuses on your passion.
- Know who’s going to be in the room .
- Arrive to events early or on time.
- Write down your goals for the event.
- Set a goal to meet 3-5 people.
- Be prepared to talk about your work in depth.
- Introduce yourself and be friendly.
- Have a few icebreaker topics in mind.
- Always have business cards handy.
- Thank everyone who gives you referrals.
- Add value without expectations.
- Ask great questions.
- Be genuine and respectful.
- Listen to be heard.
After an event
Relationships are the key to developing a professional network. The wider your network, the more support you are likely to receive. Consider this: the unexpected secret to level up your networking is just to be generous and supportive. Some of the tips to be efficient at networking after an event are:
- Organize your business cards.
- Connect with everyone you met on social media.
- Follow up with everyone you met in the following week..
- Share photos and videos from the event. (Tag your new contacts and include the organizers, speakers and the sponsors).
- Write a follow up email after meeting.
- Invite your new contacts to future events.
Effective networking is crucial to your business’s success and developing excellent relationships is highly profitable. You’ve just got to play the long game.
At Camino Financial, we are always committed to helping our members reach their goals, not only through our financial assistance but also through education and ideas. That’s how we live up to our motto of “No Business Left Behind.” Find networking resources and other tips for growing your business at our website.