How much time do you spend doing business networking?
Do you ever scroll through your LinkedIn suggested connections, and think about how amazing it would be to work with them?
But here’s the thing: business networking begins long before you’d work with a person, or before you’d need to call on them for help!
So many entrepreneurs fail because they don’t have the network they need: whether it be cheers of support and solidarity, or maybe just someone who has a connection to a manufacturer.
There are right and wrong ways to build a network, and today I’m going to share with you some of my best networking tips, and how you can start to attract the network that you want!
Howie Busch, a guest on the Success Unfiltered Podcast, was about to launch the DudeRobe on Kickstarter, and was told that the robe couldn’t be manufactured at the cost quoted. With only two weeks before launching, he reached out to his network for help.
Because of his consistent business mingling, and his connections, he was able to avoid a NO that would have cost him at least 6 figures!.
Start Business Networking Early
The best time to build your network is before you need it! So start today, working on connecting with like-minded people.
But how can you start with business networking? Here are a few tips on what you can do to start connecting with people.
Find People Who You Like
Make a list of people that you admire in business. These are people whose practices you admire, perhaps are in the same industry as you, or just seem like they’d be good people to connect with.
You’re going to want to be intentional about connecting with these people: you can’t just decide one day that you want to network. Relationships are an investment, and you have to be strategic.
As a tip: don’t just make a list of “big names.” Yes, have a dream connections list for sure! But find people who are in the same place as you, or maybe a few steps ahead of you in business.
Instead of trying to connect with someone who has millions of followers, you’ll be able to attract the attention of someone with a smaller audience more easily and be able to build a strong connection with someone who is growing with you.
Interact With Their Content
Got your dream connection list? It’s time to make yourself significant! Now, start interacting with their content. Whether it’s their articles that they share on LinkedIn, posts on Instagram, or Facebook posts, you should comment on and like those posts.
Make sure that you do more than just drop an emoji (unless, of course, their post specifically asks you to drop an emoji!). When you share that their insights inspired you, or helped you, it shows them that you’re actually using and learning from the free content they’ve provided.
Let me give you a practical example: if you were to message me with a question, and I’ve never heard from you, seen you like a post, or you’re not following me on Instagram, I will likely respond back..
But let’s say that you’d been following me on Instagram, and commenting on everything I post, and you had liked my Facebook page, and sent me a message telling me how much you liked the most recent episode of Success Unfiltered, and how it resonated with you.
If you message me, and I have seen you interact with my content, I’m more likely to quickly respond to you!
Give Before You Take
Many people misunderstand the purpose of business networking and pick people based on their personal needs.
It’s always great to have those connections to meet your needs, but if you’re only networking to meet your own needs, then you’re doing it wrong.
So many people take, take, and take. But the key to building a strong and effective network is to give, give, and give.
If you’re constantly giving value and helping others out, then at the time when you need help is going to be when your network bears fruit.
Howie experienced that when he had to reach out to his network: he had not planned on needing his business connections to be able to produce products. In fact, that wasn’t why he had built that network at all! But because he had invested in building those connections, when he needed help, his network was there and ready to support him ASAP!
As a side note: you can give with boundaries! Let me tell you just a bit more about that.
How to Give to Your Network
If I gave a half-hour of my time to everyone who just wanted to “pick my brain for a second” then I’d spend a lot of time getting my brain picked, and I wouldn’t be able to provide value for so many other people let alone try to get actual work done.
You are allowed to set up boundaries for how you give. Here are a few ideas on how you can give to your community with maximum impact.
Create a Podcast
My podcast, Success Unfiltered, is free! Anyone who wants to know what’s inside my brain can listen to the podcast weekly. I share all the nitty-gritty details about life in sales, and as you know, I hold nothing back when I share my stories!
When you create a podcast, you are using a platform that allows you to share your knowledge and experience with everyone.
Create a Blog
If you’re reading this, you’re enjoying one of the ways that I offer value to people! Creating a blog is valuable on multiple levels: I am able to share ideas and strategies and help people know if working with me would be a good fit.
When you create content, you’re able to attract like-minded people to you: people who will believe in you, what you do, and your brand.
Business Networking can be the difference between a YES and NO in your business. You never know when a connection may be able to step up and save the day. However, those relationships and connections don’t come without intentional work.
What are some of your favorite ways to network with other entrepreneurs? Tell me in the comments!