Networking is a total game changer for small business owners. At its very core, business is nothing more than generating win-win opportunities by cultivating professional relationships and nurturing relevant contacts. It involves building connections, fostering relationships, making referrals, sharing resources, and supporting other small business owners.
The landscape of small business is changing and business owners are navigating complex challenges especially as digital communications evolve. Connecting and building purposeful relationships are an indispensable lifeline for small business owners. Despite the technological advances, consumers still report the need for personalized experiences from small businesses.
Networking: game changer for small business owners. Listen to the episode here!
Start Small and Build Meaningful Relationships
Connections foster innovation and growth causing relationship building to be non-negotiable in businesses. Without an ongoing network of connections and relationships you may limit opportunities for growth and expansion. People are central to building connections, fostering relationships, making referrals, sharing resources, and supporting other small business owners.
Maybe you consider yourself an introvert and not quite a people person. If you lean towards an introverted personality, this may be hard to hear but try to understand and embrace the concepts of networking. Give yourself grace and start small. It may not come as naturally for the more introverted personality to seek out opportunities to network and connect. This personality may need to be more purposeful build relationships by scheduling lunch or coffee dates, events and other appointments into their calendar each week or month.
But, if you love people, you will find it much easier and natural to build purposeful networking into your overall business plan. If you are energized and fueled by people, be sure you are intentional about the connections you desire to make and mindful decisions on your calendar.
Join a Mastermind or Coaching Group
A mastermind group is an opportunity to leverage the talents of other people in your group. Masterminds and group coaching programs generally provide mutually beneficial business opportunities. Often business owners in a mastermind group will find some opportunities to work together and support each other’s business goals. If you have never been a part of a business coaching or mastermind group you need to add this to your must join list right away. You can even be apart of more than one group and multiply your network and connections.
Some private groups and opportunities may have monthly costs associated, but you can also find free opportunities in every community online and in-person. At Jump Start Business Builders we believe so much in the power of coaching and relationship building so our group sessions are very affordable for every business owner’s budget. Its so easy to join! I mean it’s so affordable that there is no excuse not to be a part of this growing community of amazing small business owners that connect and grow together.
Network and Connect Online
Social media has had bad wrap as it relates to building relationships. For years, many have worried about the emotional and mental problems digital relationships may cause. While I am not a doctor and will not pretend to have all of the answers, I can attest to the positive aspects of digital networking and relationship building. Some of the most intentional and purposeful business connections I have made though my 15 years in business have taken place online. I believe the technological advances offered through social platforms and digital networks have given small business owners more access and opportunity than ever before. Here are a few ways you can implement networking strategies into your busy schedule.
- Social media: LIKE, FOLLOW, ENGAGE and SHARE posts from your favorite and relevant sources.
- Attend local events and fundraisers
- Sponsor events or host an informational booth
- Volunteer for an organization you are passionate about
- Join a committee or non-profit board
- Host local gatherings or groups
- Make referrals
Whether you are networking online or in-person, building relationships takes time. The relationships you invest in will enhance the visibility of your business and give you access to new markets and expertise.
Always Give Before Your Receive
Networking is a two-way street. Offer value and resources to others without expecting an immediate return. Building goodwill can lead to long-term relationships. Networking should pave the way to building trust. A great way to gain the trust of your followers and network is through a consistent marketing plan. Remember, your marketing efforts are the action you take in your business to inform, educate and communicate your products and services to your network connections. This is true value.
I know that time is of the essence in your business. Generating ongoing sales are necessary to keep the doors open. Your recurring revenue will be the most sustainable and your direct connections hold the power to the financial consistency in your business.
Remember the popular saying from the movie Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come?” There are a lot of misconceptions about this quote that do it a huge disservice. Simply creating something cool is not enough to drive traffic to your products and services. Instead putting in the effort with authenticity, perseverance, active listening, and follow up. Never forget a genuine approach, as well as time and patience which are all vital for attracting and retaining customers and captivating your network partners and connections.
Networking Will Lead to Opportunity and Growth
In person and digital networking are both essential aspects of business and professional interactions. Investing in the right connections builds trust and credibility, which are both vital for attracting and retaining customers. The relationships established not only enhance the visibility of the your business but also enables access to new markets and expertise.
Purposeful and strategic networking will help you establish valuable connections with potential clients, partners, and mentors, resulting in business opportunities. Networking is not just an option but a cornerstone for the success of small business and will transform the trajectory of your small business for the better.
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Spotify Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/0fltqH67SzbNWh1KYvNlYA