Want to grow a profitable business? Aim to build larger, more diverse networks that will connect you to influential people in your industry, leading business trendsetters and new markets you’ve not accessed before.
You have to go out there and build up connections with peers and talented professionals. You can’t simply do it alone. This study on women entrepreneurs shows that if you don’t build a large enough network, you’re the one responsible for stunting the growth of your business.
Here are a few smart things to keep in mind when building your network.
1. Find an event or events that suit you. There’s a lot to choose from when picking a good venue for networking. If you didn't like the last event you attended or the vibe of a certain organization, try new ones that suit your business needs.
For a women-specific hosted event, you can join our annual MACs Women's Entrepreneur Summit.
2. Be organized. Utilize your planning skills prior to the event. Have specific goals. Like knowing the people you want to meet, and if possible trying to get in touch with them ahead of time. You could shoot them a quick email saying you look forward to meeting them in person, for example or connect with them via social media channels, like Twitter or Facebook.
3. Master your elevator pitch. Create a concise and compelling elevator pitch. Also keep in mind that networking is all about establishing relationships. People love to do business with people whose company they enjoy. So keep your pitch conversational and fun.
4. Offer help first. Be ready and willing to offer your help first to other participants. If you’re an expert in social media, suggest a free plug-in that could help them improve their marketing campaign. People will love you for it.
The benefit of helping as many people as you can during a networking event may not come right away, but eventually it will in a month or a year.
5. Hone your networking skills. During networking is the best time to perfect your techniques. Determine which strategy works effectively to gaining new friendships and more knowledge with your contact. The more you practice your skills the better you will be for the next networking event.
6. Follow up. Always follow through with all your contacts after meeting. Get to know them better. Take the relationship a bit further by inviting your contact for a cup of coffee or any activity of your choice that allows you to extend the conversation.
If you find those tips above very useful, why don’t you try them on the next business conference you’ll be attending this year? We would also love to have you with us at our bigger and better Annual MACs Women's Entrepreneur Summit, which will be held in White Plains, New York, this October 3, 2015.