Whatever your business or industry may be, networking can be an essential tool for growing your brand. Networking successfully can lead to heightened awareness and trust, as well as a higher rate of potential new customers and purchase conversions. You’re also likely to gain more expert industry insight from networking with your peers – but what exactly is successful networking and how can you use it to boost your business? 🤝
What is networking – Networking is all about establishing connections that can positively affect your business. It usually involves building a list (or ‘network’) of professional contacts and exchanging information with them that is likely to benefit both parties. Essentially, networking comes down to meeting new people and establishing mutually beneficial professional relationships – the peers in your network could operate in the same industry as you or run a business in a parallel sector.
Importance of networking – While networking is an essential tool for establishing yourself and gaining a solid reputation as a new business owner, the process is important whatever the size of your business or brand. Networking can help you to gain valuable industry insight and expertise, meet key clients and collaborators, pool essential resources that you may not have otherwise discovered, and strengthen the reach and efficiency of your business and its operations.
Be prepared – It’s now easier than ever to get on board and sign up with potentially valuable networking events, whether that be online meetups or in-person events. If you do choose to attend a networking event at a physical venue, you’ll need to ensure that you’re prepared to talk shop and deliver important information about your brand to a large number of people. If possible, prepare some conversation starters ahead of time and ensure that you’re well-versed in every aspect of your business. Make sure that you have plenty of business cards ready to distribute to your peers so that they’ll have a physical reminder of your conversation and all of the necessary info related to your brand, products and services.
Squash the fear – As part of prepping for your networking event, try to boost your confidence and practice speaking with many different types of people. Networking events are perfect for introducing yourself to highfliers who can transform your business overnight, so don’t ruin the opportunity with nervous energy and awkward silences. If necessary, work on your public speaking, social skills and business communication techniques to eliminate fear and boost confidence ahead of the big day.
Follow up – Once you’ve established a new contact and provided them with a business card and the relevant details, don’t be afraid to follow up on your initial conversation. If you want to foster meaningful and productive business relationships, you may have to do some extra groundwork after the initial networking event is over!
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