latest networking tips for entrepreneurs

Networking 101 for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, you want to do all you can to see your business succeed. Networking is one valuable step you can take, increasing your visibility and allowing you to connect with potential business partners, get referrals, and acquire new clients.

Networking is also an opportunity to learn about the latest trends in your niche and the business world at large.

If you're not a social butterfly, the thought of networking may seem daunting. Don't stress. There are many ways to expand your reach and connect with others. Here are some ideas.

1. Prepare your elevator pitch and other networking tools

Before you start networking, prepare accordingly. Whether you're meeting people virtually or in-person, you want to be able to give them a quick rundown of what you do for business and what makes your company stand out. Prepare a brief elevator pitch of 60 seconds that accomplishes that goal and memorize it.

If you're planning on attending in-person events, you may also want to have business cards on hand. Think cards are outdated? Think again. Modern business cards have cutting-edge touches like QR codes you scan that take you directly to a company's website. This allows people to immediately transition an in-person meeting to the digital realm.

2. Attend in-person events for business

Although a lot of events are now being held virtually, especially in the wake of COVID-19, in-person events still take place. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, which is a great resource for connecting entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration also regularly hosts events, which can be a good way to meet like-minded entrepreneurs.

Additionally, look for industry-specific events related to your field. Joining industry associations and trade groups can be a great way to discover these networking opportunities. You can also scope out relevant events and get tickets using online search engine tools like EventBrite.

3. Find opportunities to connect online

The internet is also a useful tool for sparking new business connections. Social media is one solid starting point. Set up professional accounts for yourself and your business, and use them regularly.

Focus on sharing useful content while actively engaging with others. It's also advisable to use social media to discover new trends in your field.

You can also attend digital events to network, like online conferences and webinars. When attending virtual events, follow a few rules of thumb. First, minimize distractions and don't try to multitask.

Second, take advantage of opportunities to liaise with others, like chat rooms. Finally, participate! If there's a Q&A session following a webinar, for example, pose a query.

4. Invest in your new connections

Once you've made your first networking connections, don't let them fall by the wayside. You want to nurture your new contacts and maintain them over time. ZenBusiness offers a guide to networking, including what to do after the initial contact has been made.

For example, you should find a reason to follow up afterwards and then touch base a few times per year.

Finally, don't be afraid to leverage new connections. That's what they're there for! If you have a job opening, need a vendor, or are looking for a tip, trust your network to help. Similarly, if someone comes to you for help, be open with your resources.

Successful business relationships are quid-pro-quo and an honest exchange will benefit both sides.

Taking away time from your business day to invest in networking might seem like a waste of time at first. However, networking will help pave the path to long-term success for your business, so it's well worth investing the effort. Follow the above tips to get started.

For more useful content like this, visit Digital People. You'll find information covering an array of handy topics for business owners, from marketing strategies to copywriting tips.

This is a guest post by Michael Stephenson from The Entrepreneur Hub on the Digital People website, Learn more about Digital people guest post by following the link.

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