Networking for Small Business Owners! 6 Tips to Help You Get Started
For small businesses that are focused on growth, networking is a valuable tool that should not be overlooked.
Make space for yourself within whatever industry you serve by taking the time to make important connections. Most networking is relatively affordable, which means that if you don't have a large budget yet, you can still get your business out there.
Networking for small business isn't just about generating leads and earning clients, it can also be a great way to gain insight from those that have been in the industry longer, so you don't make the same mistakes!
Read on to find out more about the six basic networking tips you need to know to get started.
1. Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events is an obvious way to meet new people and make connections. However, don't go into these events unprepared. Make sure that you choose the events that fit your market and attract quality people.
If you cast your net too large, and try to attend every event out there, you'll end up wasting time and resources without generating any leads.
Estimate the cost of the event to determine if it's worth your time and fits your budget. If you have to get on a plane to attend an event, it had better be specific to your industry to be worth the investment.
Lastly, don't show up to networking events without a toolkit to set you up for success. Here are some things to consider.
2. Business Cards
You should always have business cards on hand wherever you are. You never know when you are going to meet someone that could benefit your business! However, if you don't want to invest in physical business cards that tend to get lost in people's wallets, opt for a digital business card instead.
Not only will people have all of your information when they receive a business card through text, but they will also have your number in their phone so it's easy for them to contact you quickly.
Click here for tips on creating the perfect digital business card for your brand.
3. Elevator Pitch
The elevator pitch is key to growing a small business owner network. This pitch should be brief, catch the listener's interest, and effectively explain who you are and what you do.
Start by setting a goal. What is it you want to accomplish? If your goal is to generate leads, make sure your elevator pitch ends with a strong call to action. It should be persuasive without being pushy.
Additionally, it's ineffective to persuade someone to invest in your business without supporting evidence. Let them know how you can help them and how your business has helped others like them. This will add credibility and reassure them that you aren't wasting their time.
Click here for more tips on writing an effective elevator pitch.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Test your pitch on other people before using it at networking events. Finally, keep track of every connection you make at these events so you can follow up afterward and close the deal.
4. Utilize Digital Media
Nowadays, networking can be done from any location. If you don't yet have the time and resources to dedicate to attending networking events and conferences, there are many ways to network online that are just as valuable.
Use digital media to conduct research on the top players in your industry. Follow them on their social accounts and see what marketing strategies they're using to grow their businesses.
Utilize networking platforms like Linkedin to make connections. This is a great way to both follow what other industry players are doing and connect with them directly to pitch your service or pick their brains.
Digital media is an excellent tool to use when forming partnerships with brands that share your audience. Once the connections are made, you can use the relationship to benefit everyone by guest posting on each other's blogs or mentioning each other in social media posts.
Visit our blog to find out more about digital marketing best practices.
5. Use Cross-Promotion
As mentioned above, forming relationships with businesses that share your audience is vital for networking as a small business owner. This allows you to pool your resources and have a greater reach.
Through partnerships with other brands, you'll have access to a new audience that you might have missed in your own marketing efforts. Before choosing a business for cross-promotion, decide if that business supports your needs. The partnership needs to make sense or the audience won't understand why you're promoting someone else.
Then, you can start creating content and events together. This could be anything from direct referrals when speaking to clients to full-on advertising campaigns that showcase both brands.
Showing that you're capable of partnering with other businesses is important for building credibility. If a portion of the audience knows the brand that's promoting you, they will be more likely to trust your products and services.
6. Host Your Own Event
If you feel like you've built up enough connections within your industry but still want to showcase your business to potential investors and clients, it might be time to host your own event.
There are plenty of other small businesses needing ways to network. Be the face of an event and make an impression on everyone attending by hosting a meet and greet. Create promotional products with your branding so that everyone takes home a nice reminder of your business.
Other businesses will be grateful for the opportunity to pitch their services and will likely invite you to future events if they have a good experience.
Networking for Small Business Starts With One Connection
Think of networking as a web of potential. It starts with just one connection! The more that first connection can offer, the bigger your network will grow. Network efficiently by making the first connection count. Become a member of a chamber of commerce to grow your network fast and generate quality leads.
Find out more about networking for small businesses and become a member to start building your network today!