Nearly every consumer market is extremely competitive so when starting up a business, one of the best strategies you can use is leveraging your connections. There are many ways to do this and ways to establish new, useful connections. This process is called networking. Networking is primarily important to promote quicker business growth and avoid bumps in the road. The more connections you have, the bigger your network becomes. The bigger your network becomes, the more resources you will have to make your goals a reality.
Basically, the more connections you have, the greater chances you will have at succeeding!
However, networking is slightly more complicated than it may first seem. It is not as easy as simply needing to make friends in the business world. Of course, having friends can be beneficial, but it is more about figuring out how to establish a giving-getting relationship. Actually, if anything, to establish a strong network you should start by doing more giving than getting.
According to Susan Heathfield from The Balance, she writes:
“Successful business networking is about what you can do for them. And, you need to trust that, in some way, someday, maybe in the most unexpected, unpredictable way, what goes around comes around. It never fails.”
Heathfield emphasizes in her Tips for Successful Business Networking article how it is important to make your network connections more about them than yourself in order to reap the benefits. It sounds contradictory, but when you put in effort to support others, I promise that the good karma will eventually find you.
Another important notion to keep in mind when committing the idea of starting your network is that you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Of course, for some, meeting new people is a breeze, but for others it makes them sweat a little. If you are one of the latter people, just try to keep in mind all the benefits these new relationships can bring you. Also, with practice it will get easier. According to an article about networking written on Entrepreneur.com, there are some important tips you should keep in mind to help you when meeting people of potential networks.
1. Set Goals for number of people you want to meet when attending an event. Setting goals will keep you motivated.
2. Always carry business cards with you! It is important to stay prepared.
3. Don’t always sit by people you know. This will force you to meet new people.
4. Make sure you’re friendly and approachable.
5. Be willing to give and receive.
It is important to keep all these tips in the back of your mind when approaching the process of growing your network. It will ease your nerves going into it and keep you prepared.
Here is a supplemental video by blogger Devani Freeman with more tips when it comes to starting your network and how it will ultimately benefit you. Freeman discusses her own experiences with networking and proof as to how it helped her in the business world.
Growing a strong network will allow you to leverage these connections when you need them most. Your network will essentially become your “backbone” and having a strong backbone will be major determining factor as to whether you will sink or swim in aspects of business.
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