The best way to grow your business is to step out into the world and meet people. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, networking is a skill that takes time and practice to hone. Yet, successfully networking with other entrepreneurs or professionals can lead to new opportunities and increased investment. Unlike career development, networking as an entrepreneur focuses on your business and what it can do for others.
So, if you want to step up your networking game, these tips are for you!
Sharpen Your Elevator Pitch
Selling your business does not have to sound like a commercial. Your elevator pitch can be as unique and interesting as you. Add jokes, witty commentary, or any other touches representing your brand. Try it out on your friends and family to workshop and edit it to perfection.
What Can You Offer
Instead of thinking about someone helping you, think about what you can do for them. Networking creates mutually beneficial relationships for both parties. Perhaps you know potential clients you could send their way, or you can design a collaborative marketing campaign. Investing your time and energy in others shows them you are serious about partnerships, not just sponsors.
Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking. You want them to like you, be interested in your business, and simultaneously find camaraderie and collaboration. It’s a lot to juggle in a small interaction. Preparing some general conversation questions gives you something to fall back on when your mind goes blank. The questions can be about the person’s hobbies, their family, why they started their business, what accomplishments they are proud of, etc. Connect with them as a person, and you’ll connect with them as a business partner.
The more you network, the more you create a community of support for your business. They can provide support financially, emotionally, or personally. Try networking with businesses in similar fields or backgrounds as you. It’s a lot easier to network with people who share experiences and overcome similar obstacles as you.
If you’re interested in joining a community for women in business, IAW is a professional online and in-person community for women all around the globe. Our community provides a personal forum for you to grow your career, promote your business, product, or service, share ideas, and expand your network. Find out more on our website.
You may feel there are not enough hours in the day to network. But, schedule events to force you to make time and think ahead. Online events offer more varied times, while in-person provides space for more casual conversation. Choose events that make sense for your schedule and needs.
Always have a way for people to contact you later. If you’ve done your pitch right, they’ll be in love with your business and want to connect. But if they have no way of finding it later, then your effort goes to waste. Carry business cards for in-person events, share links in zoom chats, or get a QR code for your business. Whichever platform you prefer, make sure it’s accessible and easy to exchange.
Networking events can be an overload of information. Between meeting people, a lot can happen that makes you forget who you’ve spoken to. Take some time to jot down notes between conversations so you have a list of names and contact information to follow up with after the event. For email templates and more on following up, click here.
Want to attend weekly networking events without breaking the bank? IAW hosts thousands of networking events for women at any stage of their business or career. Around the globe, you can meet women invested in finding community and supporting each other to achieve their dreams.
Check out our upcoming networking events on our calendar!