As a small business owner it would behoove (side note: isn’t behoove a cool word? lol) you to make connections, not only with people in your industry, but others as well. Going to different networking events is a great way to find those potential champions for your business. Networking is a tried and true method of increasing the awareness for your business while meeting new people and hopefully having a good time. Of course utilizing the social networking platforms (LinkedIn, FB, Twitter) is another way to build your network of advisors, peers, mentors, etc. You can network anywhere… Your goal at networking events is to meet people who will help and support you on your journey as a small business owner, offering tips, advice, and helpful connections that will aid you in running or starting a successful business… So get out there to promote your business and build your network of friends. Below are some tips from an article I read today about networking.
Excerpts from Networking Tips: Go From Awkward to Awesome
How can you maximize your time at a networking event? Follow these five steps and see where they lead.
1) Know who you don’t know, but want to. Analyze your relationship map. Is there a specific person or type of person you need to meet? Maybe an industry expert who knows about selling into the Fortune 100? Or the head of procurement at a key prospect in your pipeline?
2) Do your homework. There is no shortage of networking events, and they come in multiple flavors: by industry, specifically for entrepreneurs, women-only. Which networking event is right for you? Do a little background research and see if any of the people you want to meet are speaking at local events.
3) Know your story and your audience. Now that you know where you are going and who you want to meet, get your talking points together. Don’t be too practiced, though. Different people will respond to different things. What business are they in? What role do they have? What are they hoping to achieve?
4) Know your ask, and don’t be shy When you hang out with wildly successful people, you will find that they tend to be pretty vocal about they want and they are not afraid to ask for help. Asking for someone’s advice about a topic they know well is a great way to get a conversation started and bonds formed. It’s pretty cool to have your ask turn into a successful person’s thoughtful input on what they would do if they were in your shoes. That person you are talking to becomes engaged in your success.
5) Do what you say you will do. You are done. You went to the event, worked the room because you had a plan, and you executed on that plan. Sure, you were a little nervous before every new encounter, but it got easier as the night progressed. Now, it’s time to act. Take up your new connection’s offer to help. People attend events because they are social opportunities to meet new business connections, share their platform, and learn new things. The rules of dating do not apply. Don’t wait; follow-up promptly. Be persistent while also being respectful of your new connection’s time.
But speaking of networking events… Coming up on Friday, June 1st in New Haven, CT at the Omni Hotel, a non-profit organization in which I volunteer for is having a speed dating fundraising event. The organization is called Women of Power Network, Inc. or WOPN, their mission is to empower women and young girls through various events and workshops/programs. This fundraising event is a great opportunity to not only meet professionals on a personal level but also on a professional level and it’s for a great cause. What are your tips for making strong connections at a networking event?
As always, Let’s Connect!