Written by: Jade Binsted, founder of The Ribbons Network
When starting a business you have one thing in mind… “how to grow my business?” There is so much out there around growth strategies, marketing, sales, courses, planning, strategies, niching and so on. However, business networking is a great way to grow your business with longevity, because done right, you will build a network around you who will market your business for you for LIFE… sounds great right? RIGHT! The importance of networking in business is often overlooked, but we don’t want you to do that – so here are our tips!
In this blog, you will learn how to build networking skills, tips on how to prepare for a networking meeting, how to make the most of it during the meeting and how to continue benefitting from networking after you leave the meeting.
Set a Goal
When thinking about how to build a professional network goal setting is very rarely considered. As a business owner, you’ll be used to setting goals with your marketing strategies, networking is no different. Our suggestions for networking goals are around making new connections, booking 1:1’s, and collaborations rather than sales. With a goal in mind at each meeting, you will see GREAT results from networking.
This is one of my favourites, have some questions up your sleeve and aim to talk about anything BUT yourself. If you ask someone about themself, they will feel special and in turn, will ask about you. You could even think of some topics going on in the media that relate to your industry as a conversation starter.
Set aside time for relationship building
We are often asked, what is the most important factor in business networking, and we believe this is it. In between each meeting we encourage our members to book AT LEAST 1:1 with another member within the network, either inside or outside of their area. During our meetings, there is a 10-minute 1:1 slot which can go really fast, so our members extend this outside of the networking meeting itself. 1:1’s are amazing for finding out more about the other business owner, building a working, professional relationship, recommending and referring one another and setting up collaborations and partnerships. At our meetings we provide a 1:1 cheat sheet, these are a great start and can be used as a framework to keep your 1:1’s on track.
To summarise… to get the most out of networking you need to think about why you are going, be interested in other people’s views and opinions, and understand that attending a meeting is not where your networking journey finishes.
We have written a full guide which you can get hold of by clicking here which will give you even more guidance on how to network, whether you are new to networking or a networking veteran.