For small- and medium-size business owners, finding new ways and opportunities to grow their organizations can be a full-time job in itself. Advertising and other marketing strategies can be a great option to gain exposure but can be expensive and leave much to be desired in the way of promoting confidence in your brand.
Luckily, networking is an affordable and extremely powerful way to make and maintain the connections you need to grow your company and your sphere of influence:
Expand Your Business’s Reach
Perhaps the most important and direct result of networking is the fact that it expands your business’s reach. Networking is, by definition, creating new relationships and strengthening the ones that you have.
As you network and promote your company, you are allowing more people to find out about it and increasing the number of potential customers, suppliers, or other business associates you can rely on. Even if you have the best idea or product in the world, you will have a difficult time staying afloat if no one knows about it.
When networking, try to meet with as many people as possible, but be sure not to sacrifice the quality of your conversations in the name of speed. While quantity make be preferred for some types of connections, quality is often far more important.
Develop Trusting and Established Relationships
Networking is much more than just the initial introduction or conversation about yourself and your business. Networking should be used as a tool to develop trusting and established relationships long after you first meet someone.
This can be done through following up with the important contacts that you make and maintaining a connection with them through regular interactions. With popular platforms such as LinkedIn, networking and growing the bonds that are formed are easily than ever.
Learn a Thing or Two
A third aspect of networking that can help you grow your business has nothing to do with making or growing new contacts. While networking, you’re going to be speaking with a myriad of different people, all of whom have varying areas of expertise and levels of business acumen. If you’re an open and active listener, you are likely able to learn something new from just about every person that you engage in conversation.
When speaking with someone in logistics, you could learn a better way to package and ship your products. If you’re networking with a retired business leader, he or she will likely have some powerful tips on managing your employees.
Networking should not just be about growing your business through your contacts, but also through the knowledge that you gain.
When networking, be sincere and honest in your conversations. The whole point is to expand familiarity with you and your business and form bonds that improve the way you are viewed by others. Most people, especially in business, are adept at seeing through a direct sales pitch or fake conversation and will quickly become unreceptive towards your approaches.
By being friendly and building trust with those you are speaking with, you can easily form the network needed to quickly take your business to the next level.
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