As a business owner, networking is one of the most worthwhile things you can do.
According to research, networking at events could help businesses increase customer acquisition by up to 20%, and a networking strategy can also help you connect with new investors and collaborators to take your business to the next level.
Nevertheless, successful networking is not always straightforward.
In addition to getting over the hurdle of the first few awkward moments during the introduction stage, you also have to deal with some significant time restrictions, which means you have to deliver your message as succinctly as possible.
It takes time to establish bonds. But, as any business owner or entrepreneur knows, time is money. So, when you’re short on time, how can you ensure you’re still optimizing your networking strategy?
Here are some proven strategies that can deliver powerful results.
Make it a habit to network every day.
The more you practice networking as a regular habit, the more it will become second nature to you.
Instead of setting up an hour per week to meet, set aside five minutes every day to connect with people to facilitate the expansion of your business. Sending emails to people online and communicating with your peers via social media are good ways to start the day.
Schedule phone conversations with possible collaborators and investors for periods when you know you’ll have some free time. For instance, while driving to a customer appointment or in the late afternoon when you’ve completed your primary duties.
When networking becomes as natural as brushing your teeth or combing your hair, your approach becomes more natural and, subsequently, more effective.
Furthermore, if networking becomes a habit, it no longer represents something you have to push yourself to do. You’ll be less prone to make excuses about not having enough time and more relaxed about picking up that phone.
Make use of new connections.
Establishing new ties isn’t the only benefit of networking.
There’s a strong possibility that you already have some excellent people in your network who might connect you to influential people in your industry. The workplace is an ideal place to start establishing your network.
Learn about your teams’ backgrounds and get to know them personally. Take advantage of team-building events or workshops to try and identify opportunities to tap into your colleagues’ networks. You could find that your internal network delivers a lot more value than you previously imagined.
Getting to know your team may also show that some of your employees have latent skills that you may put to greater use in your company.
Utilize current activities.
Why not include social events as part of your networking strategy? If you volunteer at charitable organizations regularly, for example, you can initiate conversations with the individuals who work there.
Making the time to engage with others and exercise your networking abilities will benefit you in the long run, even if you don’t make any important contacts. You can find people with whom to network anywhere.
Including practice time in your day to work on your capacity to form emotional bonds with others is far more beneficial than most people realize.
Schedule important events ahead of time.
If you want to leverage a specific in-person networking event, you’ll need to plan ahead of time. You won’t be able to attend most events at the last minute, but you will attend the crucial ones if you keep organized.
Make it a personal target to attend at least one networking event each month – even if it’s an online event. It can help you enhance your opportunities to network regularly. Make a note of the activities you are most interested in attending and put them on your calendar so you can plan ahead of time.
Be strategic about the types of events you attend. Ideally, you’ll want to attend the conferences and workshops that will enable you to connect with individuals who can help you and your company, as well as you help them.
Make use of social media.
Finally, one of the most popular and most accessible methods to network is social media.
Make a point of going through your LinkedIn contacts every day and reaching out to people who could be helpful to your social circle. The secret to social media networking success is not allowing it to consume too much of your time.
Set aside a particular amount of time to prevent becoming side-tracked. If you have numerous social media accounts, try combining them with a social media marketing tool to make posting content and attracting new connections easier.
Networking is critical to your personal and professional success. Keep these pointers in mind if you want to optimize your networking opportunities while also keeping a laser-sharp focus on your business.