When you’re a small business owner, networking is the last thing you probably feel like you have time to do. Why should you spend your energy building a network of business colleagues when you have so much to get done every day? This article will share why it’s important to build a business network and how it can benefit your small business owner.
Invest in Your Success—By Networking
There’s a lot of personal investment that goes into a small business, both financially and physically. Once your business is established, it can be lonely at the top. Your employees look to you to make crucial decisions and have answers to their questions. But the truth is, many times you don’t know the best solution.
That’s one area a business network can help you. Building a network of like-minded business colleagues will help you learn best practices without the normal trial and error process that can cost you time and money. You can share your insight and establish yourself as a mentor to others. It’s an excellent way to give back to your local business community while also receiving the support of your colleagues.
But business networking also helps your business in other ways. It gives you an avenue to test out a sales approach before you launch a new product. If you do it properly, networking can connect you to potential sales leads. You also never know when you might run into someone who might want to invest in your business or prospective partner in a lucrative win/win deal.
While these are just some of the business advantages of networking, we know you don’t have a lot of time to waste. So before you head to a networking event, consider these networking strategies:
- Make networking a goal. Set aside at least one day a month to try out a networking event. Whether it’s a Chamber of Commerce activity, a happy hour, or another business-related event, get out there and meet people. Keep a running tally of the events that you feel are worthwhile and go back.
- Focus on how you can help others, not just on promoting your business. Engage in conversation, share ideas, and offer resources to the people you meet. That’s much better than a canned sales pitch.
- Practice a series of three or four conversational starter questions, such as, “What company are you from?” or, “Have you been to this networking event before?” Listen, ask questions, and always follow up.
- You don’t have to stick to networking around business topics. The goal is for you to find some common ground with the person you’re meeting. Are you passionate about the local sports team? Are you interested in a local community initiative? The point is that you’re building a network by connecting with like-minded people.
- Map out why you’re going to the event beforehand. Do you know who’s attending in advance? If so, make a note of the people you’d like to meet beforehand.
- It’s old school, but make sure you take your business cards. After the event, take 10-minutes to reach out to the people you met. If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with them there, too.
Exelare believes in the power of the small business.
We offer our clients a powerful, user-friendly, and affordable applicant tracking and recruiting software perfect or any small business. Talk to our team about how we can help you reach more candidates to make your business a success.