Starting and keeping a business afloat takes strategy. Here are 3 key ones to keep in mind.
Goal and Plans
People often jump into networking without considering their goals. Are you looking to grow your network by X number of people. Do you need to find a new investor, is there a skill you want to learn, or do you have another goal? Finding an achievable goal is a great motivator, and you can use it to gauge your progress. All good businesses start with a plan so why wouldn’t the area of networking get the same attention as other parts of your business planning? Very often, this area is left to chance or happenstance. Ask yourself these the following questions: “Who would I need to connect with to be wildly successful?” “What groups, individuals or companies could be most beneficial to my future business?” “What will help me to grow as an entrepreneur?” Write down your answers and then prioritize what your networking activities with be in the course of a day, week and month.
Once you’ve built a professional connection, stay in touch and dedicate time to nurture and build that relationship. Sharing informative articles around similar interests, checking in on them occasionally, and sending them invitations to events, among other things, are ways to nurture the connection. As you seek connections to help your business grow, be prepared to do the same for others. Ultimately, you will find that building professional networks and maintaining relationships pays off.
Confidence and Curiosity
At the heart of every networking opportunity is the desire to form a mutually beneficial relationship. With each new contact you meet, think: “What can I learn and gain from a relationship with this person?” This mindset not only prompts you to listen closely to what they have to say but also be purposeful with your time. The other person will likely think the same thing: “How can a relationship with this person benefit me?” Confidence in your business idea is crucial for communicating the potential value you bring to the relationship. While building relationships is far more nuanced than simply determining what each party will gain, leading with both confidence and curiosity can enable you to spend time and energy finding mutually beneficial connections.
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