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The Business of Better Networking
by Dave Thomas Fri, 07/08/2016 - 08:57
For any business owner who believes networking does not have to be a priority in his or her daily routine, change that mindset immediately.
With the right amount of networking, your business can oftentimes do just fine in terms of landing new customers and retaining them for years to come.
The big question oftentimes becomes just how much networking should I do with my business?
The answer to that question typically revolves around what your goals are as a business owner.
If you are content with the level of business you have right now, plan to keep your networking initiatives where they are. In the event, however, you are looking to grow your business, then network away.
Keys to Successful Networking
In order for your business to achieve just the right level of networking, remember these tips:
- Strategy – Your first and most important task is to figure out how much networking you want to do, along with where your networking efforts will be targeted. If you are looking to stand pat with your business offerings for now, continue to do the amount of networking you have done up to this point. In the event you want to take your business to newer heights sooner rather than later, ramp up your networking initiatives immediately;
- Partners – Any networking initiatives typically involve having others as part of the process. From word-of-mouth referrals from customers to printing companies such as http://cityprintdesign.com.au and others like them churning out your promotional brochures, flyers, business cards and more, it is important to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. While networking is totally not free, you can save money in a number of ways (see more below). The key is to always make sure you work with as many people as possible to push your brand;
- Social media – What business owner doesn’t like the word free? He or she has to take advantage of free opportunities whenever they can get them, especially if they are a smaller business with a limited budget for marketing and advertising needs. Social networking is great on several fronts, notably because it is essentially free. Yes, you may have to pay someone to do your shares and tweets etc. for you, but you can also do much of those tasks on your own. Make sure you have a social media strategy in place, avoiding the temptation to just wing it. Using sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. will give you unlimited opportunities to reach out to consumers, many of whom may not know about what your brand offers. In doing so, you can accrue new business and maintain relationships for years to come. Also make sure that you regularly engage with your followers and friends on these sites. Many more consumers are turning to social media as a means to reach out to businesses, so don’t disappoint;
- Your employees – How much networking are your employees allowed to engage in? When you stop and think about it, your workers can be some of your best brand ambassadors. Use them to engage with both current and potential customers not only on the phone, but also on social media, at networking events (see more below) and more. As consumers get to chat with your employees and learn more about your brand, the odds increase that you will land some of them as new clients;
- Networking events – Lastly, while some companies have cut back on attending networking conferences and trade shows due to budgetary constraints, many businesses still find true value in such events. With 2017 not too far down the road, you should already be looking at a calendar of possible conferences for your business to be represented at. Once you are at such events, having supplies such as business cards, brochures, flyers, an Internet connection to show off some of your company’s initiatives online etc. are all important keys in landing more business.
Even though networking in the business world has changed to some degree over the decades, much of it still comes around to that one-on-one contact with consumers.
When you show them all your brand has to offer, more times than not they will go from potential to current customer.
About the author
Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.