The importance of networking must not be underestimated when you are starting your small business and this holds true whether you are opening a restaurant or an online shop. But what is networking?
Entrepreneurs often hear, and even use, the term ‘networking’ but in order to network effectively it is important to understand the principles of networking and that it isn’t just a case of merely having a chat will the right person; what you say, how you say it, and how you follow up the conversation are all vital.
Networking, in the traditional term, is attending an event or presentation on a matter relevant to your business where influential or like-minded people will be present. So, you are at an event where there are people who are all interested in small business, but where do you go from there?
Top five networking tips:
• Make sure you do your homework- be knowledgeable about your industry and those attending the event.
• Exude confidence in both yourself and your business, without seeming arrogant!
• Memorise a 60-second marketing pitch for your company. Try and be able to explain what you do in a few sentences, making it engaging and interesting. Sell yourself!
• Give your business card to everyone you speak to, and ask for theirs. Be sure to ask what other people do, too.
• Send an email to the people who you felt could help you, preferably within a week of the event, being sure to say how much you enjoyed meeting them.
Most of all enjoy it, be passionate about your business and have fun!