One of the first things you will hear about when talking to people about your new business is networking. Networking can be daunting, and a lot of new business owners will feel a bit unsure, but there is no reason not to try networking. There are always benefits to joining a local networking meeting regardless of the industry you are working in.
Networking is ultimately a group of people in the same boating meeting up, to make connections and support each other. Even if the idea of networking is terrifying to you, it’s definitely worth braving. Whether it’s a marketing expert that shares a nugget of information, a local restaurant owner than can help by providing a venue for your next event, or an accountant that can help you find all the information you need and maybe take the stress of your accounts away from you, perhaps even advice about business tools such as the shift planning with the Deputy app, it’s all positive!
How To Find A Networking Event
Google may not be the best bet with this one because networking events aren’t always created by big businesses that plow money into the events being advertised. Facebook and Twitter may be the answer though, search for “networking events” on Facebook or have a look for your local #hour on Twitter for details of the local networking events going on in your area. Also using Twitter itself is a type of networking, you will find plenty of local businesses looking to make connections just like you there, so get tweeting and see what connections you can make!
How To Prepare
You’ve plucked up the courage to join a networking event, but what next? Other than what to wear (smart or smart casual!) what else do you need to think about to prepare for the big day? Well, you need to consider your brand. Hopefully, this is something you have sorted already, but materials such as business cards and leaflets are excellent, what about something unusual? How are you going to stand out from the crowd? Also often the icebreaker is an introduction from every person in the room, it’s a great idea to have something prepared that people will find difficult to forget. It won’t be easy, but be confident and be proud of your achievements!
After The Event
Once you’ve been to an event, don’t forget the most essential part, the follow-up. This means following your new local networking friends on social media, sending any information that was requested quickly, and making sure everything you learned is actioned afterwards. The key to good business relationships is trust, so when you say you are going to do something, it’s a great idea to get it done, fast!
Ultimately networking can be an excellent resource for any new business, some networking events will be a wealth of information, but some will be a bit less useful, but either way, providing helpful information to other people, or gaining some useful information yourself is always great for business!
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