When you start your own business you soon realize that the people who surround you can help you grow your brand. Your loyal customers are usually the ones who trust and like you.
Therefore, your professional network plays a very important role from the first moment you launch your business. In the end, apart from knowing very well what you have to do, it is also very important to know the right people who can help you advance in your career.
In addition, the people around you will contribute to your business in many ways. For instance, you will meet people who will help you build your brand with their feedback. There will also be people who will open new doors for you.
Therefore, one of your main priorities should be always expanding your professional network.
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Learn how to grow your business with networking
1. Become visible
You need to let people know what you are doing and how to reach you. So, use all the communication tools you know. Send emails, post on social media, and organize face to face meetings.
After all, it is not what you know that makes the difference, but the people you interact with. This is how you will stay on the radar of several people who will come back to you one day and recommend you to possible clients.
2. Participate in networking events
It does not matter if it is an online or offline event, as long as it involves networking. Moreover, all industries have, at some point, a national and international conference where you will have great networking opportunities.
You can also become a member of local organizations where you will meet other business owners like you who are open to share their stories.
On the other hand, you will find plenty of networking events also online. Think of LinkedIn or Twitter where you can meet a lot of professionals.
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For instance, you can participate in a Twitter chat where you can meet people from around the world who might give you a brilliant idea that can change your business forever.
3. Expand your network outside your industry groups
The people in your industry can be extremely helpful when you want to share ideas. However, you should keep in mind that they are also your competitors. Thus, they will not buy your products or order your services.
You can find new clients in the groups that gather people from different industries.
Also, do not delegate the networking task to any other employee. There is no one more passionate about your business than you. If you want to convince new clients, use your enthusiasm and the success is guaranteed.
Plan your networking activities carefully for the entire year to keep traveling expenses under control.
4. Always give before you ask for something
Before you ask for a favor from someone in your networking group, it is always better to give something in advance. It will be difficult to receive help from someone whom you’ve never helped before.
Think at the law of reciprocity. You receive what you’ve given. So, if you’ve helped people in your network before, you will most likely receive their help when you need it.
5. Don’t exaggerate when asking for advice
It is perfectly fine to ask for advice. But, when you exaggerate and ask for constant free advice, then you might receive a negative answer.
You can also be rejected if the people in your group feel that you are trying to promote your services instead of learning something from your discussions. As long as you don’t have hidden motives you will receive the help you need.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you don’t ask questions, how do you know what is the best thing to do? If you are shy and afraid to ask questions you will not be able to expand your knowledge and develop your business.
Do you need a meeting or an introduction to someone who has the right answers? Ask the people in your network for it. Do you need feedback or advice on a crucial matter for your business? Ask for it and choose the best answer for your case.
7. Listen to the people around you
People love to talk about themselves and their successes. When you want to expand your network, then you should not only talk about yourself, but you should also be a good listener.
Let people present their business and success recipe. You will see that you will establish an amazing relationship with the people you listened to. After all, how can you learn about the other people’s struggles and challenges if you don’t listen to them?
8. Focus on long-term relationships
It is very easy to exchange business cards when you participate in an event. But, this does not mean that you really established a professional network.
If you want to develop more business deals, you should focus on establishing long-term relationships with the people you meet. You should put in all your efforts to create a win-win collaboration with all the people from your networking groups.
9. Don’t forget to follow-up
If you want to establish long-term relationships with your connections, you should start by following-up. It doesn’t matter that you came home after an event with a lot of business cards if you don’t do anything with them.
If you don’t know what a follow-up message should look like, you can start by thanking the person for the great meeting you had and send them a short presentation of your business.
If you promised that you will do something, then you should keep your word. This is how you show the other person that you are a professional.
10. Getting rejected is not the end of the world
You should not see rejection as a failure, but as a motivation to wake up the next day more ambitious than before. Not all the people you meet will reply to your emails and calls.
Not everyone will be open to share their story and give you advice. But, it is always better to get rejected than not trying at all, right?
The CEO of PickWriters declared in a recent interview: “I run one of the largest translation companies, so I need to constantly develop my network and consolidate my business. How do I do it?
I participate in almost all the events organized for my industry. I follow-up with all the connections I make during the events and I try to learn something from each discussion I have.”
In conclusion, networking is essential when you want to grow your business. The people you meet will not only help you expand your business, but also improve it. Therefore, you can win when you decide to focus on networking.
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