Networking is one of the most valuable things you can do as a business owner.
Studies suggest that networking at events can gain companies up to 20% of their new customers. A networking strategy can also be the key to finding new investors and partners to help a successful business.
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to network successfully.
Not only do you have to get used to the awkward initial introduction phase when you’re trying to make connections with others, but you’ve also got some severe time constraints to worry about.
Building relationships takes time. But, as every entrepreneur knows, time is money. So how do you ensure you’re still working on your networking strategy when you’re strapped for time?
Try these strategies:
Make It a Daily Habit
The more you practice networking as a daily habit, the more it will naturally fit into your day.
Rather than setting aside an hour a week where you can talk to people who could help your business to grow, you use five minutes each day. Start the morning by emailing others online and connecting with your peers on social media.
Put phone calls with potential partners and investors into your calendar and work through them whenever you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for something else to happen.
If networking is as much a habit as brushing your teeth or hair, it feels more natural.
When networking becomes a habit, it also emerges as something that you force yourself to make time for. You’re less likely to make excuses that you don’t have a moment to spare.
Leverage New Connections
Networking isn’t just about building new relationships.
There’s a good chance that you already have some quality people in your existing network who could help introduce you to important figures in your space. The workplace is a great place to build your network and meet people.
Get to know your teams and learn about their background. Grab lunches with staff when you have the opportunity and look for chances to get to know new people through them. You might discover that your internal network has much more value than you initially thought.
Getting to know your team could also reveal that certain employees have hidden talents you could use better in your business.
Use Existing Activities
If you already participate in social activities from time to time, why not use those as part of your networking strategy? If you regularly volunteer at nonprofit organizations, for example, you can start conversations with people in this environment.
Even if you don’t gain any valuable connections, making the time to connect with others and practice your networking skills will benefit you in the long term. You can chat everywhere, from your gym to your laundry place.
Getting practice into your day where you can work on your ability to build emotional links to others is a lot more valuable than most people realize.
Schedule Important Events in Advance
If you want to make time for a specific in-person networking event, then it’s essential to prepare well in advance. The chances are that you won’t be able to attend most events at the last minute, but you can go to the important ones by staying organized.
To help improve your chances of regularly networking, attempt to attend at least one each month — even if it’s an online event. Make a list of the events you most want to attend and add them to your calendar so you have plenty of time to prepare.
Be selective about the type of events you choose. Ideally, you’ll want to visit an environment where you can reach people who will benefit you and your business.
Use Social Media
Finally, social media is one of the most popular and convenient ways to network these days.
Make a little time each day to go through your LinkedIn connections and reach out to those who might be valuable to your social circle. The key to success with social media networking is ensuring that you don’t let it consume too much of your day.
Set a specific amount of time aside so you can avoid getting distracted for too long. If you have multiple social accounts, consider merging them with a social media marketing tool so you can share content more easily and attract potential connections.
Networking is vitally important for your success and your business growth. Keep these tips in mind to enable you to perform critical networking activities without it taking time away from the rest of your business.
We hope you find this article helpful and start creating the perfect network for you. If you want to know more, here are strategies to grow your business.
Having enough time to achieve your goals and networking is essential for the success of your business. At Cápita Works, you can find VA’s that will make your life easier and leave you space for what’s important. Contact us.