Following on from my blog about making sure you don’t close off to the idea of networking. I thought I would outline some of the many opportunities there are to do this for those just starting out on their networking journey.
Obviously for SME’s, structured meetings are the main initial source of opportunity.
I would advise any company to go and network at some meetings and see which environment suits their particular business.
It’s then about meeting people and then expanding your network but also networking opportunities.
This can sound a bit strategic and robotic but as some of the best networking experts will point out the way to do this is, to interact with people you like and connect with on a personal level.
Then take the time to get to know them better and gradually build a group of people in businesses you can work with.
The work you can do away from this environment is to look for ways to help others.
As your network grows you will know more and more people with a variety of skills and providing services.
Then you can look for chances to help them out.
If someone you know is looking for a graphic designer for instance and you have met a really nice person who happens to be in that profession and you have also heard great things about the work they do or even better has already done some good work for you then go and refer them on.
It may be that you need some electrical work done and you get on with a recommended tradesman from a networking group you attend.
Why not try them out, if the service matches their personality you’ve got yourself a new reliable service provider and also someone you can and will refer to others.
Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and just keep trying to help out fellow business people.
I can’t give any cast iron guarantees but I think the law of averages are that the more helpful and friendly you are in business the more you will recieve back in the long run and this is a long term process.
Opportunities to network can arise all the time. You don’t need to obsessive about it but keep your mind switched on.
You may be a member at a gym, sports club or society. If someone you chat to their mentions business and the need for a service see if you have a useful connection for them. That way everyone is a winner.
Conferences, seminars and courses are great ways to meet up with business people in your or possibly related industries.
I’ve had enquiries through Twitter not by posting sales messages usually but by interacting with business people on a social level. Then somewhere along the line getting into conversation about what we do.
Then there are your closest and easiest group to connect with who are your friends and family, who can be a great source of referalls. If they need a service then help them out through your network.
I think a great point to stress about networking is that if you step back, relax, chat to people who you seem to click with, whatever it is they do for a living and then go and look for chances to help them, then it’s enjoyable and also fruitful.
It’s about being nice, friendly and helping others.
If you think of it like that it doesn’t sound so bad does it.
Thanks for reading.