Business Networking has to do with building relationships: getting to know others not just to sell them your product or service but to connect with them as a friend. If this friend does not become your client or joint venture partner, he/she will trust you enough to give you referrals and introduce to other important people.
I believe that entrepreneurs and business owners should network online as well as offline. I made the mistake of completely ignoring my offline networking and it was not a good strategy for my type of service.
Don’t make my mistake, make new ones.
Today I am sharing 12 ways to network and connect with others that will help you to grow your business.
1. Mastermind Group
Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, did not create the concept of the Master Mind Group but his book made it popular. A master mind group consists of supportive individuals, who meet on a regular basis to share ideas, and keep each other accountable for achieving goals.
I found step by step instructions for creating your own master mind group at Virtual Assist.
2. Start a Networking Group
You can start your own networking group. Most networking groups meet monthly. You can get others to assist you with the planning and implementation. Meetup.com is a popular platform for organizing networking events called “Meetups.” They are easy to organize and very affordable.
Here is some valuable information from Mashable on how to organize a successful Meetup.
Share your time with an organization that can benefit from your talent. Build a win-win relationship by choosing an organization that will expose you to those who will benefit from your product or service.
4. E-mail Newsletter
A weekly, bi-weekly or monthly newsletter is an excellent way to connect and build a relationship of credibility and trust with your target audience. Be consistent with your mailings and always share valuable information with your audience. If your articles are engaging and useful, they’ll read them and look forward to each edition. Research has show that 80% of your content should be devoted to valuable and useful information and 20% offering your products and/or services.
Subscribe to several newsletters to get ideas for your formatting.
Here are a few e-mail marketing companies. Constant Contact was the first email marketing company I used. Presently, I am using Aweber. I personally believe that Constant Contact is the best company for beginners.
Wiki How shares some tips on how to write a good newsletter.
5. Connect with your online contacts offline
If you have a following online invite a few of them to meet you offline. It could be a one on one meeting but to leverage your time invite several of your online contacts to a get-together.
6. Connect with your offline contacts online
Invite your offline contacts to connect with you on your blog or other social media platforms. I know some of us find it hard to believe that there are people who are not on Facebook, Twitter and the other various media platform. I have had a computer since the late 1980s but I only used it for the occasional e-mail and to pay my bills. I was not aware of all the internet had to offer. I only became aware of blogging and Social Media in 2009.
7. Business Cards
Make it a habit to have 5 or more business cards with you at all times. Give them to the people you meet off line at the grocery store, dentist, cleaners, PTA etcetera. There are three types of people you’ll be giving your cards to: those you want to become your client or joint venture partner and those you would like to be your friend. Be prepared to give your 10-60 second elevator speech.
Elevator speech outline from Pepperdine
Print Runner shares what business card information you should put on your card. (I believe you should put your picture on your business cards)
There is so much to study, learn, digest and implement when it comes to blogging. Some hard core bloggers post everyday but you don’t have to do that. You should post 2-3 times per week or at least once per week. Dedicate some time each week to read and comment on other blogs. Visit the popular blogs and devour their content. Don’t get sucked into the information black hole. Tread carefully!
Blogs you should follow:
9. Be a Master connecter
To connect with others become a connector yourself. My friend Bob Barron is a master connector: he connects people on a regular basis. This is the age of collaboration not competition. Create a new habit of connecting at least two people each week. It will come back to you ten fold.
Twitter is a great platform for connecting but there are specific things you should and should not do. Neil Patel shares 100 ways to become a Twitter Power User
Facebook has over 540 million users somewhere in this crowd is a group of people who would like to network with you. Boris Epstein from Mashable shares Facebook networking strategies.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing. Guy Kawasaki shares 10 ways to get the most out of your LinkedIn connections.
I hope you get value from these suggestions about networking. Do you network online or offline?
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