Many small business owners don’t know how to network. When it comes to networking, people fall flat on their face. When you attend a networking event or meeting, the plan is to meet and greet as many people as possible to generate new business. Listen intently and takes notes. When the meeting ends, walk up to those you “connect” with and strike up a conversation.
Networking is more than just getting business. Unfortunately, small business owners don’t know how to network. The “operative word” in networking is “work.” Yes, you may have to pick up the phone or send an email to someone you meet at an event. You may have to get in your car and drive somewhere to have lunch or coffee. It takes some real effort to network.
The Do’s of Networking
- Make connections. Networking is about connecting and developing relationships. You must make the effort to reach out to people otherwise your business will be stagnate;
- Trust your gut instinct. Just because you meet a ton of people at a networking event doesn’t mean that you MUST work with everyone. Work with people who are like-minded and that will add value to you and your business and vice versa;
- Really listen to people when they speak. Give each person your undivided attention and take notes. You’d want them to listen to you so be respectful. Your notes can help you to decide whether or not to network with a person;
- Create a business card filing system. When you receive a business card just don’t file it away in a folder or box. There are a couple things you can do. You can buy clear business card holders and put each business card in a holder and then into a binder. You could take each card, staple it to a note card, write the person’s name at the top, write down the business/industry on the note card, and place them in a filing box under different categories;
Small business owners can win big at networking. It really is a win-win situation. You can create long lasting relationships and gain business at the same time. Networking is not something that you can do in one day. You’ll need to pick up the phone, send an email, and meet with people. It’s NOT a one-time deal!
The art of networking is one of finesse and sincerity. Be sincere when you network with people and get to know them. Many small business owners attend networking events for one reason — to gain business. This is only part of it. Networking is more than increasing profits; it’s about getting to know and help each other grow each other’s businesses.
Savvy Writer Rebecca
How would you rate your networking skills?