Active networking is vital to career and business growth. It is often confused and used by individuals as a selling tool but networking should be about building relationships, portraying your personal brand and providing others with insights into your credibility and authenticity.
It generally involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return.
Popular networking opportunities include chambers of commerce, trade or industry events, conferences, seminars and social gatherings. Online networking allows you to share knowledge and establish relationships with people all over the world from the comfort of your office.
Given sufficient time and energy, your networks can become one of your business’ most valuable assets. Make a start by thinking about your business needs and who could fulfil them.
Next to your needs, list the types of people, companies or organisations that might be able to provide solutions.
Develop a general idea of each. Where are they located? What can they provide you with? What will they expect from you?
Then – get organised!
Guided by how much time you can spare and how likely you are to achieve worthwhile objectives, recognise which events you need to attend and which ones are less important.
Don’t aim to attend all events. If you cannot attend an important one, make sure someone else is there to represent you if possible. Networking should be the responsibility of everyone – not just the owner or manager.
Make sure you have a 20-second presentation about your business. You will be able to use this when you meet people at networking events. You need to ensure that the things you say about your business are up to date when you meet people at events.
So go out there and network and one last tip – make sure you have enough business cards and they are all up to date.