One of the most important parts of growing a business – and your career – is networking. The better and larger your network, the more opportunities you can explore. The people you know are the people that can offer advice, make introductions, create new business, and be along for the ride during your self-employed journey. Here are five ways to build a better network and make stronger connections.
1. Connect With the Right People, Not the Most
A common pitfall of building a “good” network is trying to meet as many people as possible. It’s not necessarily a numbers game – try focusing on select people whose values align with yours, or that work in industries or at companies that might one day make sense to forge a strategic relationship with. And this doesn’t just apply to business relationships. For your own personal professional growth, find folks who are in roles or career paths that you admire. You never know if they might be able to help you connect with others down the line.
2. Get Out There! Attend Networking Events
A great way to make connections in your industry is by attending networking events. Try looking for events held at local colleges by professional and industry associates, LinkedIn, and even Facebook. LinkedIn specifically has many industry-specific groups you can join, which often have networking happy hours. Get out there, and put a face to your name!
3. Help Others
In most networking situations, people expect that you will ask them for help. Do not be the first person to ask for something – try offering your help first. They’ll remember your generosity later, and return the favor through a meaningful relationship.
4. Stay in Touch
Once you’ve connected with folks, make sure to stay in contact and continually rekindle the relationship once in awhile. If you contact someone out of the blue and ask for help, you are less likely to receive a positive response. When you build stronger relationships, people are more likely to want to help you out.
5. Start With Your Current Network
The easiest way to build a bigger and stronger network is to simply ask current friends, family, and co-workers. These connections are very strong because there is built-in trust from being introduced “from a friend.”
Let us know you favorite ways to build a network!