Connections are everything when it comes to the world of business.
Without them, your company will miss out on a whole host of lucrative opportunities.
However, as a busy professional, finding the time and energy to dedicate to building a strong and sizable network can be a real challenge.
To help you on your quest, here are five top tips for growing your business network.
- Meet lots of people
It might sound obvious but when it comes to networking, the first thing you should do is aim to meet as many people as possible.
You can start by using a website such as Eventbrite to identify interesting business events where you’re likely to meet likeminded professionals.
Don’t focus solely on business related events either – any social event is a potential opportunity to add to your network, so be social and go in with an open mind. You never know what you might find!
- Leverage social media
Attending face to face networking events can be time-consuming and at present, is not really practical. This makes social media one of the most effective tools for growing your business network.
Before you dive into the world of social, do some research to determine the best channels for your business. For example, if you’re in the business of products, a visual site like Instagram will be useful. However, a good all-rounder for networking is LinkedIn as it’s designed specifically for this purpose.
- Be helpful
Networking is a two way street, in that you have to give to receive. So as you look to grow yours, be mindful of what it is you can offer your new contacts in return.
This could be anything from your professional expertise to an introduction to another of your contacts. Such behaviours will show that you’re genuine and worthy of your contact’s time and they’ll be likely to return the favour.
- Join a business network
Joining a business network is a sure-fire way to expand your list of contacts and find people who you can work with to improve your company.
A great example of such a network is Arise Innovation, a business support hub run by ARU (Anglia Ruskin University) that offers various types of business support, including invitations to exclusive professional events – ideal for expanding your network.
- Stay in contact
Networking doesn’t end the moment you exchange contact details.It’s an ongoing process that requires time and attention. So don’t forget to check in on your contacts and keep the relationship warm.
There are many ways to do this – for example, sending emails and engaging with their content on social media with a well thought out and meaningful response.
Gestures like remembering birthdays and anniversaries will also go a long way to show that you’re serious about the relationship and not solely concerned with business.
Networking is a tricky game, but if you follow these five fantastic tips, you’ll meet some great people and be able to grow your network with ease.