Business networking is crucial to your company, as it can help bring in new business opportunities and open doors that you were not aware existed. If you lose your key source of income or a major client tomorrow, networking can make it easier to begin working again, as peers recommend you for positions that are open in their companies or new clients for you.
Networking may seem easy; almost everyone enjoys meeting and talking to new people. However, networking is much more than that. Business networking is creating relationships with a purpose; you are in the process of building up your company and finding new clients. This doesn’t happen by itself, so you’ll need to go and make it happen. To avoid any crucial flops, GCLG has put together a comprehensive guide of dos and don’ts to help beginners.
With that being said, networking can happen virtually anywhere. While trade shows and conferences are common places to network with your peers, you can also network every day. If you can talk to someone, you can network with them. It is important to keep in mind that anyone from a janitor to a CEO of a company may have connections for you. Small steps such as always carrying a business card with you can make the difference if you make a good connection.
Business networking, when done properly, is an exercise in building relationships. If you network for the sole purpose of building a business with no concern for the other person, you eventually will find your networks running dry. Good practices for networking include using proper manners, thanking others for their time, and not starting off a meeting with a sales pitch. Other tips for proper networking include paying it forward and giving feedback to others, as well as giving referrals to those you believe are a good match for an opportunity.
Failure to network properly can cause you to come across as harsh, judgmental, or even incompetent. Relationships can be hard to build with those that exhibit these kinds of negative characteristics, making networking that much more time-consuming and difficult. Networking can take some practice to master, but you’ll find that the investment you put into relationship building will be worth it as your business grows.