Networking in Business – Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know

Networking in business is an extremely valuable skill to have in both personal and professional environments, as all successful businesses depend on networking.

Many individuals struggle with networking; however, not interacting with other people can be extremely detrimental to your success as it has always been a highly crucial part of building a business.

If you are not networking, then the business you are trying to build may not achieve the kind of success you want it to and might even fail.

Networking can provide you with career development opportunities, job leads, professional success, and personal growth opportunities. By networking, you also get to connect with like-minded people with whom you can collaborate and create opportunities to expand your business.

Networking in business is not as intimidating as it sounds, though. A lot of times, professional networking takes place in informal settings, such as in offices, in restaurants and bars, and at events.

Networking can also be done formally by connecting with particular people via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms.

According to Kinsta, there were a total of 700 million people on LinkedIn as of 2021, and about 40% of them access it on a daily basis. Thus, networking on LinkedIn and other online platforms is quite effective, especially for individuals who feel more comfortable networking online.

In this article, we will be defining what networking is, talking about why it is so crucial for the advancement of your business, and offering tips on how to network effectively.

Networking in Business – An Insight

Networking is more than just handing out and collecting business cards. It is about connecting, establishing, and building mutually beneficial relationships for you and the other party.

Networking in business is the act of maintaining professional and personal contact with people who can help you further your business and career. Your network consists of all the individuals you interact with and the ones who potentially could offer you something valuable.

To maintain and create a potentially beneficial network, you must continuously grow and expand your network. However, remember that when it comes to networking, it is not the quantity that matters — it’s the quality.

Having substantial relationships with individuals who understand your business and can help you out when needed is the actual key to networking success.

Your network can consist of a number of people, including

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Professors
  • Fellow students
  • Professionals in your field
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Coworkers
  • Clients
  • Customers
  • Business networking groups, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, entrepreneurs’ organizations, Rotary Club International, etc.
  • People with similar but more established businesses
  • People or businesses you admire
  • People who make you think differently

When you’re compiling a business network group list, don’t be scared to think big. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms have made it easy to get information and cultivate relationships with anyone, even VIPs. So, if you’re ever stuck, reach out and ask for help — you will be surprised at who’s willing to help.

Why is Networking in Business Important?

As an entrepreneur, networking is critical for your business’s growth and personal development. Small business networking and startups networking is crucial as it provides businesses with opportunities that can help them thrive.

Surround yourself with individuals who share a similar ambition and drive. From reaching out to influential business owners on social media to attending important conferences and workshops, the more you network, the more you will put your brand on the map.

Here are some of the most significant advantages of small business networking:

1.Get New Perspectives and Ideas

Networking is a fantastic source for getting new ideas and perspectives about your business. Exchanging information on experiences, goals, and challenges will help you gain new insights that you may not have thought of before.

While working, it is easy for you to get stuck and end up in a roadblock. Thus, by talking to people with expertise in a certain area, you can gain insights that can only come when a person views a particular scenario with fresh eyes.

So, if you’re struggling with a challenge or decision, call up a trusted ex-coworker, friend, teacher, mentor, or someone else you trust or admire and ask him for his opinion. It can be beneficial for both of you, as he will likely do the same when he has a tough decision to make.

Offering new perspectives in return can be an excellent way to build your reputation as an innovative person.

2.Gain New Opportunities

It is evident that networking will result in opportunities that wouldn’t have come along otherwise – whether it is a potential partnership, collaboration, or referral.

Networking in business can help you stay on the cutting edge of new business trends and technology. Networking with the right people can provide you with “inside” information that can give you an advantage over your competition by implementing new ways of doing things.

Thus, it is essential for you to seize opportunities when they come along and be more open to new changes and possibilities.

3.Gain More Confidence

Networking is a skill. Some individuals are just naturally more gifted at mingling with people they don’t know; however, not everyone is a networking expert. Many people struggle when it comes to talking to people.

You will get more confident by regularly pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know. This is extremely crucial for small business and startup owners as their business growth is very dependent on making connections and talking to new people.

To make lasting connections:

  • Learn the art of striking up conversations and practice being charming and friendly.
  • Remember the names of the people you meet.
  • Ask them for their business card and write something specific about them on the back of their card so you can remember them when you get back to your life.

6 Effective Small Business Networking Tips

In this article, we will be providing you with a breakdown of how to make the most of your startup networking efforts, both in-person and online.

To make networking work for your small businesses and startups, follow these tips:

1.Set Networking Goals

Going to various events to network without any plan or goal in mind will be a waste of time for you.

First and foremost, decide what you want to achieve. For instance, do you want to network to meet potential clients? Do you want to network to find potential investors? Achieving these two separate goals will require different types of networking settings.

Thus, before networking, set up your goals, and based on those goals, look for events, workshops, and conferences that will attract the type of people you want to connect with.

2.Participate in Social Networking

We understand that nothing comes close to the power of face-to-face connections, but considering the current pandemic, there are several ways you can create meaningful relationships online.

According to LinkedIn Pressroom, approximately four people are hired every month through LinkedIn, making it one of the best platforms to network online.

To network on LinkedIn, simply create a LinkedIn account for your business and for yourself and ensure that it clearly represents what you want to accomplish. Then, add a high-quality picture of yourself, your work experience, your education, and other important information, and start connecting with people.

Many startups and small businesses also find value in Facebook and Twitter. Whichever social media platform you use, just ensure that your profiles are professional. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a potential customer or client to see.

You can also join relevant groups online by simply searching keywords related to your objectives.

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3.Find Relevant Events

Once you have established your networking goals, you then need to find relevant business networking groups and communities you can join and events you can attend.

There are many ways to find relevant events; following are some of the most effective channels:

a) Check Online Sites

Websites like Eventbrite, Meetup, Yelp, and Eventbee are specifically built to bring individuals of various interests and industries together.

You can browse upcoming events or search for groups created for a particular topic by simply searching a relevant keyword. Most websites also allow you to filter the events by “in person” and “online.”

b) Check out Facebook Events

There are several events you can browse on Facebook for almost any industry or interest you can think of.

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c) Check out Twitter

There are several people already networking on Twitter, making it an excellent platform to start things off.

Simply search for relevant keywords and start connecting with other active users.

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Oftentimes, industry movers organize their own events. Keep tabs so you can take advantage when they do.

You can also set up meeting plans with people from Twitter. Make conversation with them and once you have built a connection with them, reach out to them and offer to share some ideas over a Zoom call or a cup of coffee.

4.Brush Up On Your Conversation Skills

Many people are uncomfortable at events and parties even though these events are supposed to be fun, not scary.

However, trying to make a conversation in a room full of total strangers can be a harrowing experience. Don’t be afraid though; with the right tips, you will not only survive but actually enjoy yourself.

Surviving a networking event where you don’t know anyone can be an extreme challenge for everyone, including extroverts. How do you fit in? How do you start a conversation? This scenario can be a nightmare for introverted, extroverted, and shy individuals.

Here are a few tips for networking in business that can help ease your anxiety:

  • Bring your business cards with you to the event.
  • The first impression is the last impression – pay extra attention to your appearance.
  • Don’t stick to spending time with people you already know – get to know new people.
  • If you’re having trouble speaking to someone at an event, find another nervous, solo guest and laugh about the fact that neither of you knows anyone.
  • Ask questions: be curious about what people do. Ensure that it is an open-ended question that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” and try to ask a follow-up question.
  • You can also ask questions about the location or the occasion. For instance, “Have you ever been here before?” or “How do you know the host?”
  • When leaving the conversation, ask the person if you can contact him later.
  • Compliment! Oftentimes when you compliment people, they’ll compliment you back, which can keep the conversation going. For example, “Hey, nice tie! Where did you get it from?”

You can also reach out to people before meeting them at an event. If someone has an account on LinkedIn, send a personalized invite.

For example, here is a simple LinkedIn invite you can send:

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5.Keep Up With Changing Trends

The world is changing quickly, and you have to keep up with changing trends, or you will find yourself out of the loop someday. This is crucial for every business owner and is an important step when it comes to startup networking and small business networking.

Here are some of the best tips to start keeping up with the latest trends:

a) Use the Internet

You can constantly get the latest information through the internet. This can be done through public forums, podcasts, newsletters, blogs, or a simple search on Google or other search engines.

If you’re interested in particular trends, set up Google alerts on those topics (for example, Bitcoin, stock market, metaverse, etc.). Google will then send you the latest information from several sources via email.

b) Follow Industry-related Social Media Accounts

If you want to connect with industry experts across the globe, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are some of the most notable platforms you can utilize.

From multinational corporations you admire to inspiring entrepreneurs that started from the bottom to networking experts, follow individuals and companies that inspire you.

You can also connect with employees working in other companies to get the latest information about their offerings and company culture.

6.Follow-up with Potential Contacts

When you connect with someone new at an event or conference, it is crucial for you to exchange contact information so that you can stay in touch later.

It is a good practice to send the new contact a concise email the next day or invite him to connect with you on social platforms such as LinkedIn. If there is something particular that you wish to discuss with the other party, suggest if you can schedule a follow-up meeting.

If you made a good connection with someone particular, you could also send him a note saying how much you enjoyed the conversation. You can also send him an article with information that he might find helpful.

Do not send him a request on his personal social media accounts without his permission.

Take Away:

Networking in business is all about adding value. Thus, it is essential for you to build lasting relationships with individuals and companies.

To recap, your business networking process should look like this:

  • Set up networking goals.
  • Utilize social networking platforms.
  • Identify relevant conferences, events, and business networking groups you can join.
  • Brush up on your conversation skills and consider connecting with potential contacts before the event.
  • To build strong relationships with individuals and to make conversation, keep up with the changing trends.
  • Follow up with the people you are most keen to develop stronger connections with.

By following these tips, you will be a networking expert in no time.

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