Many times in business, it’s not what you know but who you know that propels you to greater heights. And while there is no substitute for perseverance and playing your cards right, there certainly aren’t any disadvantages either to having such a profitable network of friends and family. In other words, the success of your business is massively dependent on building the right connections too. Without a dynamic set of peers and prospects, the growth of your brand will be slow and unproductive.
All these mentioned, it’s worth noting that the right connections can spell the difference between moderate success and groundbreaking victory. Unfortunately, not all of us have equal access to influential circles, leaving us with only the power of superb marketing strategies to work in our favor. For this blog post, we’re jotting down a few tips and practices we can start making habits out of to expand our network.
Make genuine connections
When in situations that present meeting with others, remember that it isn’t only about knowing people—it’s important that you connect with them too. You could have thousands of friends on Facebook, but if you’re unable to strike meaningful conversations with them, then they’re just people on your friend’s list.
Still, if your entrepreneurial network is far from what you dream for it to be, it’s okay. Things like these take time, and with a pandemic in the way, it shouldn’t be surprising that in-person interactions are limited.
Here are strategies you want to be mindful of:
Invest in online communities.
So many things are online now; this includes communities, conferences, and groups of like-minded people who share a passion for business and innovation. Whether Reddit threads or Facebook pages, don’t underestimate the people who speak their mind and advertise online. These are the people you want to be in the same circles with. Some several groups and pages exist to help entrepreneurs broaden their reach and share their ideas. Take advantage of them.
You can join online forums, sign up for digital conferences, and other similar undertakings. You don’t even have to limit it to business. Your personal interests play a critical role in the connections you foster too. Remember: building a network isn’t always about immersing yourself in one type of people only. Diversify your friend groups to widen your reach, and both potential partners and prospects will follow.
Before starting conversations and showing up to events—online or not—make sure you’re ready. Mental alertness is a crucial component when establishing rapport and first impressions. If you’re meeting someone in person for the first time, be prepared with a calling card. When in events, know precisely the kind of guests you’ll be interacting with and be prepared with your own ice breakers. Again, networking isn’t only about telling others about your brand and who you are—it’s about building connections. As such, cultivate a sincere interest in learning about others too. Ask the right questions and try to grasp others’ principles in leadership and sales. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from others who are both younger and older than you.
The earlier you’re able to understand who’s a little more within your alley, the easier it will be for you to know who to pitch to, and follow up outside a gathering.
Choose the right events
No matter what sector your business belongs in, there is a host of trade shows and panel events that are suited to your liking. As a matter of fact, even with the novel coronavirus at play, there isn’t a shortage of virtual gatherings and networking opportunities. That said, building intentional friendships with others is only a few clicks away.
Despite the abundance of conferences, lectures, and group coaching availabilities online, you must consider which ones you should invest in.
Pursue the events that are in sync with your business strategies, values, and present brand demands. Albeit online, these virtual affairs don’t come cheap and can be time-consuming too.
Double up on community work
Ever since global lockdowns have been implemented, the clamor for businesses to be more involved in taking active solutions has been evident. From empowering workforces to graciously work from home to donating steady meals to front liners, people demand more from business leaders now. And while it’s only right for entrepreneurs to be more engaged with community work, doing so also presents you to an array of other businesses and forerunners. Simply put, being at the forefront of helping communities also introduces you to like-minded bigwigs.
At the end of the day, you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
Engage with your connections! The goal of networking isn’t to gather as many phone numbers and business cards as you can. It’s to develop substantial connections with people whose voices echo your own. Connect with your contacts on social media and keep conversations open and frequent.
In the world of business, who you know largely influences how far your business can reach.
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