Nothing seems to make those in a new business (or those who have been established in business for many years as a matter of fact) grimace than the word ‘networking’, but once you get past this networking can be your greatest asset!
You know your business better than anybody else, you are your greatest ambassador, nobody can share the passion for what you do more than you can so why not give it a try, what’s the worst that can happen?
There are so many networking options available these days so start by finding the one that’s right for you. From business breakfasts, Chambers of Commerce, speaking at an event or a club, there will an opportunity for you. And don’t forget, always carry a stack of business cards with you so you can hand them out at every appropriate opportunity, a casual conversation on the school playground could evolve in to a great, unexpected opportunity and you don’t want to miss out!
Before you go to any networking event make sure you prepare a succinct overview of your business and most importantly why you do what you do (write it down if that works for you). Many networking opportunities will give the chance to give a 60 second/elevator pitch so be sure to be clear and concise but get your key points across. It would also be worth considering whether you can offer your network an incentive to work with you …10% off if they sign up with you in the session, a free one-on-one… you will know what incentives you can give so use them to your advantage.
It’s also worth making a bee-line for the person who set up the networking session. Introduce yourself and ask about how things are done at that group, things may vary at each networking session and you want to set yourself up for success.
The key thing is to go for it! Push yourself and you will reap the rewards.