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Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

Networking. Although we increasingly live, work, and interact online, in-person networking is still a thing. And for service business owners looking to land more customers in their community, networking is powerful. Old school face time makes connections which opens up opportunities for business growth.

However, this takes more than a fresh order of business cards. Prepare for success with these networking tips for entrepreneurs that work for both virtual and in real life situations.

First, Set Goals

Before registering for an event or joining an entrepreneurship organization, be clear about your networking goals. What outcomes do you want?

Specifically, what outcomes meet the needs of your business? For example, are you looking for an investor, a mentor, a new graphic designer, or to connect with the decision maker of a certain company? In all cases, check that networking goals align your business strategy. After all, networking takes up precious time and energy. So that investment should lead to measurable results. 

Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

For business owners, networking is different than for people who have jobs. It just is. Because entrepreneurship is a totally different journey than progressing along a career path. As a result, expectations are different. Therefore, these are specific networking tips for entrepreneurs to gain the most benefit for your business.

Be strategic

Be strategic about what events to attend, and which networking group you join. Though it may seem that more results will come from more exposure, this isn’t always the case. First of all, burnout is real for entrepreneurs, with rates as high as 42%. Additionally, networking is a long game of making meaningful connections. Showing up to all the things for 4 months and then disappearing off the scene is not as effective as consistent attendance to a small selection of events all year.

Basically, it’s quality over quantity. So consider the audience and the timing to select events that line up with your goals and schedule.

Be selective

Don’t expect to meet all the people at an event. Racing around to shake hands with everyone in the room is not productive. Be selective, and connect with people in a natural way.

For example, you spot someone you know chatting in a circle, and approach them to say hello. This will lead to introductions to the others in the circle. Let those conversations flow naturally. Others may join the group, resulting in new connections. By the end of the event, you may have met only 10% of the people in the room. However, meeting a few in a meaningful way is more beneficial than a passing introduction with many.

Be human

It’s recommended to have an engaging and effective elevator pitch ready to go. However, don’t over prepare and have an entire script memorized. Be human. Meaning, let each conversation and interaction unfold naturally. Engage with each individual as a person and not according to a sales agenda. Being tied to a structured series of blurbs comes off as robotic, and not authentic.

Be curious

Ask about family, recent vacations, and hobbies. Although the ultimate goal may be to land a pitch, an introduction, or a customer, this all starts with making a connection on a human level. Finding common ground with someone builds a foundation for trust and communication. Furthermore, it may open up an opportunity to be of service. And giving a referral, suggesting an article, or recommending a podcast really establishes a bond and makes meeting you memorable.

Be of service

As explained above, being of service is an excellent networking tip for entrepreneurs. So keep your ears open for opportunities to provide value. This can be offering to make an introduction, or giving a recommendation. Also, it can be personal, like suggesting a gluten-free recipe for a school function or a great new novel to read. First of all, it is very satisfying and rewarding to be helpful. And of course, it’s an excellent way to start off a friendship, collaboration, or business relationship.

Be balanced

When a skilled networker approaches you with questions about your business and recent holiday experience, it’s easy to just keep on talking. After all, research shows that 40% of our speech is about ourselves. Furthermore, many people feel anxious when meeting new people, and being nervous also causes excessive talking. Therefore, make an effort to be aware of this, and be balanced. Be sure to stop answering questions, and start asking them. 

Final advice

Though what happens at a networking event is important, the real results come from what happens afterwards. Essentially, remember them and look for opportunities to be of service, provide support, and give value. Use a CRM to keep track of who you met and highlights of the conversation. Also follow on social media channels. Then followup and engage in a meaningful way.

For example, liking and commenting on their content. Or sending them a link about a topic that relates to their business or something you chatted about.

With these networking tips for entrepreneurs, meaningful connections can be made which will support business growth and success.

Further Reading

How Subliminal Affirmations Can Help Entrepreneurs
Reasons to not have your business online
Business ethics and boundaries

Want more PROFITS + PURPOSE in your business?
Let's talk about building PROCESSES to reach your goals.

I can help. Let's talk about it.

Want more PROFITS + PURPOSE in your business?
Let's talk about building PROCESSES to reach your goals.

Let's talk about it.

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Rebecca Page-Chapman