Networking as a newly minted entrepreneur can be a challenge. You have to approach respected, well-established people and companies to gain their acceptance, all the while being confident in yourself and your new business venture. Needless to say, it’s daunting and often a true test of your mental and emotional resilience.
If you’re looking to boost your networking efforts, FutureProof offers actionable tips below:
Networking is mission-critical
First, we’d like to underscore the importance of networking. It heavily influences everything from your earning potential to market reputation:
- It helps you create a name for yourself in your community and beyond.
- It allows you to find new stakeholders, from customers to potential employees
- You can find and engage with mentors
- It gives you fresh ideas and a new perspective
- It tells you what is happening in your niche
- You can build a safety net of supporting people for when the chips are down
Effective ways to network in 2022 and beyond
There are multiple ways to network. Some of them require money, others are free. The best, most effective ones will depend on your niche, talents, and preferences.
- Get online: You can network without leaving your home through social media, online networking events, and entrepreneur forums.
- Identify and engage with local movers and shakers: You can approach the local chamber of commerce and scout out relevant businesses from other local groups.
- Be a visible part of your community: Volunteer for community causes and participate in local events to be recognized locally.
- Join networking events: Government bodies, as well as private groups, often host networking events like seminars, trade shows, and more. Showing up can be worthwhile.
- Get to know your peers: When attending events, your goal should be to listen. So rather than making an effort to be interesting, focus on being interested in what the other party is saying. Consider using the phrase “Tell me more about…” and make a point to listen!
- Use networking apps: Several new apps have come up that directly connect you to relevant businesses and people.
- Be an approachable expert: Sharing valuable knowledge in your niche, whether online or through workshops, may draw people to you.
Keep in mind that having basic branding – a business image or persona – is necessary. It’s how people will relate to you. Practice your elevator pitch so that you can quickly and succinctly tell other people what you’re about and how you can help.
Use and share tangible business cards to strengthen your image
Business Builder Mag reports that business cards help 90 percent of business owners to land new business, making them an essential networking tool. They make you easy to identify, are more personable than email, and give potential clients and customers something tangible to remember you by. You can create and personalize your business card design with an online tool. It’s fast and convenient. You use a pre-made template and then customize it by adding images, colors, text, and a font of your choice.
Maintaining your network is a part of networking
Introducing yourself to important people is only the beginning of the story. You have to actively engage with them, long-term, to derive value from your relationship. It will involve communicating with them periodically, remembering important dates, maintaining a relationship dossier, granting and returning favors, and generally scratching each other’s backs. Remember – you have to offer value, in whatever form, to be a valuable networking partner.
Networking isn’t easy. It will likely take time for you to build up solid skills. As Entrepreneur Pathways can tell you, rejection is a part of entrepreneurial life. Don’t be disappointed. Expect the best, accept and process the worst, ask for feedback, and keep moving forward. You will get results, in time.
Need help growing your dream business?
Then it’s time to reach out to FutureProof Academy, where Kevin Purves and his expert team offer both personal coaching and consulting to help entrepreneurs learn to help themselves. Contact us today to find out more!
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