Identifying new prospects and attracting new customers can be some of the most difficult aspects of building a business; especially if you don’t have very deep pockets. But there are a number of ways in which you can gain visibility. Every promising entrepreneur knows that networking is one of the most important things to focus on during your entrepreneurial journey.
A successful entrepreneur knows that the lifeblood of his/her business is found in building the right connections and networking regularly. Whether it is for potential sales and marketing, business alliances, supply chain management or just to ensure you are in sync with what is happening in your industry, making the right connections is vital for a business’ growth.
For extroverts, this doesn’t pose much of a challenge, but for others, it can seem like a herculean task. Becoming a networking pro doesn’t have to be all that challenging. Here are some pointers that will help you hone your networking skills and make your efforts count:
#1 Create a plan
All well-established businesses begin with a plan and networking is one of the aspects that need a plan too. More often than not, this particular area is left to chance. You need to consciously identify which companies, groups, and individuals could be most beneficial to the future of your business. Once you have the answer to that, you need to figure out how you can connect with them and what exactly will help you grow as a budding entrepreneur. Write down all your answers and prioritize your networking activities on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Commit to that plan and ensure it has a timeline.
#2 Be judicious when networking
Time is one of the most important commodities you have; this makes it vital for you to be selective with your efforts. Look for events that feed not just your business but your mind as well and use social networking strategically. Be strategic and smart in your outreach and target all your efforts towards building connections that will help your venture grow.
#3 Make real connections
The goal of attending networking events isn’t just to add to the wad of business cards in your pocket but to make connections that count. It’s crucial that you be honest and genuine. While social media platforms can help you get in touch with other people from your industry, those connections can prove to be very superficial because they aren’t relationships. The latter is more sustainable; if you invest some time and effort into nurturing them, they will stand you in good stead in the future.
#4 Focus on keeping your network current
In this digital age, it isn’t difficult to build connections and contacts via social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Be active on these platforms and make sure you use them consistently to update information, connect with people, share and congratulate. This will help keep your network updated and current.
#5 Pay it forward
While new strategies like the ones mentioned above matter when building your network connections, certain old-school notions work wonders too. Helping others to achieve, introducing them to potential clients, recommending them, offering suggestions and sending business their way will also help you become more successful. This has more value when you aren’t looking for something from these connections. Care about their well-being and be sincere. These are the cornerstones of leadership and will set you apart from the crowd.
Master these skillsets and before long you will find that business doors will start to fly open for you.
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