Networking is perhaps the best thing you can do for your business. It’s also one of the most affordable and cost effective things you can do for your business. You know the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The more people in your network, the more opportunities for business. The better people in your network, the better opportunities for business. And it’s not just who you know, it’s who you know knows. The average person has 250+ contacts. So how do you build a network and make the most of it?
There are hundreds of networking groups, chambers of commerce, leads groups, meetings, events, workshops, seminars, trade shows and conferences. Some have fees and some are free. Some have requirements and some don’t. There are breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings and meetings throughout the day. Formats vary. You could exhibit at or sponsor a trade show, conference, group or meeting. You could target specific industries, demographics and locations.
Use Meetup Groups (www.meetup.com) to find a comprehensive list of networking meetings and events in your area. Attend meetings on a regular basis. Don’t just attend meetings of groups you’re a member of. Attend other group’s meetings also. I prepare my monthly networking calendar at the beginning of each month. I go to breakfasts, lunches and dinners on a daily basis. Meet new people and stay in touch with people you know. Give your 30 second elevator speech. Promote yourself. Prospect for potential clients from attendees. Develop referral partners. Get business cards. Add them to your email database and social media network.
Use your social media network to develop new contacts, clients and referrals on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and YouTube. On Facebook, send out friend requests, add people to your group and request likes for your business page. Accept friend requests, like business pages and join other groups. Post to groups and message members. On LinkedIn, send out invites to add connections, join your group and follow your business page. Accept connections, follow business pages and join groups to post to and message members. On Google+, add circles to your profile, business page and community. Join communities to post to and message members. Follow people on Twitter on your personal and business profiles. Send people direct messages. Create a YouTube channel to upload videos and subscribe to other people’s channels. Post your blog, videos, newsletter, e-zine, whitepapers and e-books. Also, post or send out messages to promote yourself.
Have a button on your website to promote subscribing to your blog, videos, newsletter, e-zine, whitepapers and e-books to capture email addresses. Send out a weekly email to your database. Send out your blog, videos, newsletter, e-zine, whitepapers and e-books. Also send out emails to promote yourself.
Networking is one of the easiest and affordable ways to grow your network. It’s also a lot of work. Manage your time accordingly. Spend a portion of every day doing face-to-face and online networking to grow your network and generate business. Remember, it’s the most important thing you can do for your business. I look forward to connecting with you at the next meeting or online.