If you are starting a business from scratch, launching a new product or wanting to grow your project – networking is a key skill. People buy from people and a good networker knows how to work it. Position yourself and your business as a “get to know”.
Busy people usually network early in the morning – don’t forget they run their business in the day, so this is the only time they get to meet new folks. There are many business breakfasts that start from around 6.30am up to 10am. A quick way to find one in your area is simple internet search. You’d be surprised at what’s going on.
Think about the types of people and businesses that you would like to meet prior to your attendance. How can your business help them? Pick networking groups that pertain to your business interests. Depending on the type of event, prepare a simple one-minute description of how your business can help others.
It’s not a sales pitch
Pushy, self-serving networkers do not create relationships with others. Be genuine, authentic and aim to ask questions about other people and what they do. Most of all, get a smile on!
Rate your contacts
If you have made a good connection, mark a cross on their business card. These are the people that you should definitely follow up with.
Don’t forget that you are networking to build relationships with fellow like-minded professionals. A pleasant “great to meet you” email or tweet post event will continue the conversation, and hopefully will develop into more meaningful business face to face meetings.
It is daunting networking for the first time, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
If you haven’t started networking yet and would like to find out about networking events near you, we recommend the EventBrite and Meet-Up websites. You may even decide to hold an event of your own. Good luck!