How to Grow Your Business Through Networking
Networking is the process of creating a group of people and other businesses that you can rely on throughout your time as an entrepreneur. But, for many of us, reaching out to strangers is an uncomfortable idea. Today, Timothy A. Natale shares a post written by Michael Stephenson how to find your network as an up and coming entrepreneur.
The Value Of A Pipeline
Your professional network essentially works as a pipeline of potential business opportunities, an employment pool, and even partners in new endeavors. Having the right network in place is crucial for all businesses, and it is something that Zenbusiness suggests even helps you learn more about your industry.
How To Establish Your Network
Establishing your network is more than simply meeting people. It’s an art that starts with working on yourself.
The first step: The Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is essentially a quick summary of who you are and what you do. It’s named so because this narrative of yourself should last no longer than a standard elevator ride, or around 30 seconds. Think of the elevator pitch as mini-marketing, kind of like a free sample that makes people want to know more. To perfect your elevator pitch, write it down. Short, sweet, and informative should be your three key thoughts. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want it to sound too “salesy”, and your pitch is meant to introduce yourself so that you can make matches with others who complement your profession.
Step two: Sharing Yourself
Now that you know what to say, it’s important to ensure that you can quickly and easily share your contact information with your new network. Traditionally, this means using business cards. According to Design Hill, despite the advent of technology, business cards remain relevant as one of the quickest ways to share information. And, in some cultures, they are part of a broader business ritual. They also make a great first impression and give a personal touch to what might feel like a very impersonal meeting. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use technology to your advantage, and there are plenty of online services that allow you to create a digital business card that you can text or direct message for the technologically savvy in your group.
Step three: Finding Relevance
As a business owner, you will likely have a target demographic. This may be other professionals, moms with young children, men that like guns, or individuals in need of home services. Look for networking opportunities that put you in proximity to people who are most likely to want to patronize your business. According to sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer, you, fortunately, do not lack opportunities to network. Options include your local Chamber of Commerce, college alumni club, civic organization, community charitable event, trade association, and even your local HOA.
The final step: The Follow Up
Great, you’ve filled your proverbial black book, and you have a whole list of new contacts that will, hopefully, help you grow your business. But, you cannot just wait until you need them to forge a relationship. This process should begin shortly after the networking event. To reintroduce yourself, make sure to send a nice note. This can be a text message, email, or even a card. Strike up a conversation, making a point to listen and connect on a personal level. Then, look for opportunities to periodically reach out to ensure that you remain in their recent memory.
Networking doesn’t come naturally for everyone. If you are an introvert and typically shy away from the small talk needed to network, you may have to do more work on yourself to boost your confidence. But, even if it’s an uncomfortable experience at first, establishing your network is great for business and, ultimately, what’s good for business and your bottom line is good for you. So get out there, meet and greet, and begin building your empire one card at a time.
Written by: Michael Stephenson
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