Networking is integral to growing a business. We'll even go as far as to say that it's a non-negotiable, something that every entrepreneur must be willing to do. Not only will it help you attain more clients and customers, but it will also let you acquire more knowledge, and eventually attain business growth and increase your profits. It's also worth noting that networking is not just about selling your business to potential investors, but also reaching out to other people and being able to project what you can do for them too. To leverage the power of networking when it comes to building your startup, it is important to know that you are not merely pitching your concept to someone and moving on to the next person if they show disinterest. After all, the goal is to build networks and not simply catch and release. The beauty of networking is that anyone you could have a connection with opens you up to a new broader network of potential investors. And even if someone you meet might not be of help now, there may soon come a time that you will need their expertise. To help you become successful at networking, here are some tips you should take note of:
Network through friends and family You may be apprehensive as an investor about networking through your close circle, but refusing to do so can lead to a loss of opportunities. You never know if a friend of a friend is interested in investing in innovative businesses, or a colleague of a relative is on the hunt for a business venture to engage in. When it comes to networking through your personal social circle, the best thing to do is present your idea in a way that doesn't seem like a hard sell. That way, they're likely to offer their contacts up on their own accord if they like your idea.
Don't underestimate social networking. Social media is now inextricably linked to our daily lives, but you might not be taking advantage of it the way you should. Even though most people use it as a tool to connect with friends and family, it's also an excellent vehicle for connecting with potential investors and stakeholders. You may want to look into creating a LinkedIn account especially if you're catering to other businesses, but Twitter and Facebook are also just as great if you're starting small. Whichever social networks you use, make it a point to keep your social media profile professional – even going as far as to creating a new one. The last thing you want is to share an incriminating post that a prospective client will come across.
Put your soft skills into action. Once you've connected with someone, you should learn how to empathize with them and practice connective listening. Focus on listening first, as you don't want to tune them out and turn them off. And when it's your turn to talk, lead with your achieved results to inspire them of your demonstrated abilities, so they will want to forge a stronger relationship. Doing the opposite and leading with problems would only make them wary of commitment, and they would only see you as needing them.
Article written by Rachel Jenna
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