Networking is a means of meeting up with other professionals within your trade. It can be valuable for forming cross-promotion strategies, for finding services to outsource and to potentially earn more clients. Every business needs to network to grow. There are plenty of ways to do this – here are just a few handy networking strategies.
Be social on social media
Social networks are by their very name intended for networking. LinkedIn is a social media sites that is specifically set up for business networking and is a great place to find fellow businesses to cross-promote with. You can also private message with other business owners on Facebook and Twitter, but generally speaking this is best reserved with people you already know as these social media platforms can be more personal.
Join online groups
There plenty of online groups such as private Facebook community groups for businesses and forums for various niches that can be useful for discovering new connections and making a name for yourself. Not all of these online groups may be intended for promotional purposes, but can be great for getting free advice or strengthening your reputation by advising others.
Visit trade fairs
By visiting a trade fair centred around your business niche, you may be able to form connections with various other business owners. These are also great places for eyeing up competition and getting tips. You may even consider renting a stall at one of these trade fairs. Sites like TradeFairDates can help you to find events local to you that may be worth attending/signing up to.
Consider hosting a conference
Conferences are the perfect networking event. You get to centre the event around your chosen theme and invite the guests you want to network with. These could be other local businesses, investors and journalists from local media. Pick a venue and arrange a time and date. Companies such as Conference Audio Visual can gear you up with microphones and screens. Food and refreshments, as well as entertainment, can help serve as an extra incentive for people to come.
Become a member of a local business group
Many town and areas have local business groups such as rotary clubs and councils that can be ideal for meeting new connections. There may be fees for being a member, but it can be worth the advice and networking that you get out of it. Websites such as Business2Community are great for finding local business groups in your area.
Network in your free time
Every social event can be a chance to network. You never know who you might meet at a party or a wedding or at a local sports club. It can be handy to carry business cards with you wherever you go just in case you bump into someone who could be a potential client or cross-promotion opportunity.