Everyone wants to grow their business quickly, and the best way to do that is to network. When you think of the word “network”, what do you think of? I think of a group of people that branch out as a tree does. It starts with you, the trunk, finding a few new connections which are the main branches of the tree. Those few connections extend out into further connections creating all the little branches and twigs that sprout from the main branches. Networking can be difficult and intimidating so that’s why I’ve decided to share my top 5 networking tips for entrepreneurs with you!
THE TOP 5 NETWORKING TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Attend Events in Your Own Community AND Online
You can’t only attend the events; you must PARTICIPATE! You need to get out there and mingle! Walk up to some random people and just start talking to them. I know that can be intimidating, but once you start it will get a lot easier. If you need ideas of what to talk about, here are some suggestions. Ask them what they do for a living; people love to talk about themselves! Ask them if they have any kids and remember what they say so you can use that to follow up later! Ask them where they went to school. Try to find connections with people! Some places you can go for networking events are chamber of commerce meetings, career fairs, happy hour meet-ups, community service groups, and there are always online networking conferences! Get out there and start talking!
Bring Memorable Branded Merchandise with a Polished Brand Image
You want to stick out and be memorable when you’re networking as an entrepreneur. There are so many people that attend these networking events, and you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. When you attend these events, bring merchandise with your logo on it! If you can, bring pens, paper pads, magnets, chip clips, or anything else that would be out of the ordinary but useful! If you don’t have any of that merchandise or you’re just starting out, make sure to bring business cards to hand out! Make your logo memorable and make yourself memorable. Don’t be afraid to be different and stand out!
Stay Connected & Follow Up with Your Connections
This one is important. If you get somebody’s contact information, which you should absolutely do, make sure to follow up within 48 hours! Send them a quick email telling them how much you appreciated their time and how great it was talking to them! This is the important part, are you listening? Do you remember when I said to listen when they talked about themselves, their kids, their school, etc.? Tie that into your follow-up email! Ask them how their kids are doing or do a little research on the school they went to or their business and tie that in! They want to know that you listened to them! You also want to make it personable and not like you mass emailed your new connections all at once. You want them to respond to you so you can continue the dialog. This puts you in the forefront of their mind so when an opportunity arises, they think about and contact you!
Help Others in Your Network
Do you know the saying “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”? This applies to networking. If you help someone out with something, they’ll be more likely to help you out! Even if it’s just helping them move something heavy, shooting them an email when you see a job that might suit them, or inviting them to a networking event that you’re going to. Helping others in your network can only help you.
Find Time in Every Day to Network
Finally, make sure you take at least 15 minutes each day to network yourself! Obviously, if you have more time than that, use it. If you can only manage 15 minutes each day though, that’s enough. Go like, comment on, and share other entrepreneurs’ posts. If you do that, it will put you in their notifications. If you make a big enough wave, they might start noticing and reach out to you about an opportunity. If you can invest more time, start building your social network and profiles. Create unique posts for your social media and see if you can get some traction with them. Do your research and see what people are looking for in your area of expertise. Ask questions and comment on blogs that you’re interested in. The worst that can happen is… nothing. The best that can happen is you find your dream client!
It’s Time to Network!
So, there you have it! The Top 5 Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs!
To sum it up, attend events and PARTICIPATE, make yourself and your brand memorable, stay connected and be personable, help others in your network, and make the time to network.
If you want it, you must work for it.
Starting your own business is definitely an undertaking, but these tips will set you up for success! Now get out there and grow your tree!
Your Wandering VA,