Networking is one of the most valuable things you can do as a business owner.
Studies indicate that networking can gain companies up to 20% of their new customers. Having a networking plan can also be the key to finding new investors and partners that will help to grow your business.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to meet new people, especially with a busy schedule. But, successful leaders and entrepreneurs find a way to make networking a part of their business life, and so should you.
Building connections takes time. But, as every entrepreneur knows, time is money. So how do you ensure that you’re still working on your networking strategy when you’re short on time?
In this article, we share some strategies that will save you time and money.
Leverage Existing Connections
Networking isn’t just about building new relationships.
There’s a good chance that you already have some quality people in your existing network who could help to introduce you to important figures in your space. A great place to start building your network is in the workplace.
Learn about your teams and their background. Grab lunches with staff when you have the opportunity and look for chances to get to know new people through them too. You might discover that your internal network has a lot more value to offer than you thought at first.
Getting to know your team could also reveal that certain employees have hidden talents that you could use better in your business.
Make Network a Habit
The more you practice networking daily, the more naturally it will fit into your day.
Instead of setting aside an hour or two a week for this, use five minutes each day. Take a few minutes of your breaks to send emails to potential business connections and catch up with your peers on social media.
Add phone calls with potential partners and investors into your calendar and work through them whenever you have time. For instance, when you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for something.
Once networking becomes a habit like brushing your hair, then it starts to feel more natural and easier to do.
Make Use of Available Opportunities
If you take part in social activities from time to time, why not use those as part of your networking strategy? If you regularly volunteer at nonprofit organizations, for example, then you can strike up conversations with people in this environment.
Even if you don’t make valuable connections at events, taking the time to connect with people improves your networking skills. The trick is to strike conversations everywhere — from your gym to your laundry place.
Creating time in your day where you can work on your ability to build emotional links to others is a lot more valuable than most people realize.
Schedule Important Events in Advance
You can also make time for a specific in-person networking event, especially when you have a lot to work on in your business. It will help to prepare well in advance. As an entrepreneur, there is a chance you may not be able to attend most events, but you can go to the important ones by staying organized.
To build your connections, plan to attend at least one each month – even if it’s an online event. Start by making a list of the events that you most want to go to and add them to your calendar.
However, remember to be selective about the kind of events you choose. These should be those that add value. You do want to spend a lot of time in places where you can not reach people who can benefit you and your business.
Make Use of Social Media
All businesses thrive on networks, not only money.
Social media is one of the most popular and convenient ways to network these days.
Make a little time each day to go through your LinkedIn connections and reach out to those who might be valuable to your social circle. The key to success with social media networking is ensuring that you don’t let it eat up too much of your day.
For leaders and entrepreneurs sharing meaningful content on social networks helps to connect with more people and potential buyers.
Keeping up with your online accounts can be tedious so consider consolidating them with a social media marketing tool. That way, you can share content more easily and attract potential connections.
Another option if you have the cash to spare on marketing is to hire social media marketing managers to handle all your online accounts and keep up with your online connections.
Networking is vital for your success and that of your business. The ability to perform critical networking activities without it consuming too much time from your schedule is essential. So, try implementing some of these tips to kill two birds with one stone.
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