The world is gradually opening up again after being hit with Corona Virus. However many business owners like myself are concerned about how their businesses will survive post Covid19.
Business networking is an effective strategy for business survival especially in tough times.
What exactly is business networking?
Business networking is about building and nurturing business relationships which includes exchanging information and developing professional or social contacts. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and seek out opportunities and it’s about turning business contacts into friends. People buy from those they know like and trust.
What are the benefits of business networking?
I was once told that the more people you meet the luckier you become. People are your social capital. With lots of money, you create value and interest in the bank. It’s the same principle with people. Your network is your networth. Effective networking brings so much more opportunities. I have experienced countless business deals and contracts just by building my social capital which really means networking effectively.
Below are 5 steps to achieve this
Empower your mind
In tougher times your business can survive but it starts first in the mind. You have to be confident and believe in the value your business brings to the market place. Belief is so important for survival. Those that think they can survive are the ones that will survive. You have to maintain a positive attitude about networking.
You must remove limiting beliefs like ‘’Networking is a waste of time’’ or ‘’I don’t need new networks because I am happy with what I have’’. Please remove such beliefs.
You can reprogram your subconscious mind by visualizing networking success.
You have to affirm these new empowering beliefs into existent and expect good results.
I am a master at networking
I create powerful connections
I help my network achieve their goals
I connect with new contacts and allies everywhere I go
I have great contacts
Have a plan
Is not enough to have empower your mind to network effectively. You should have a plan. If you were going to war, you would have a plan right? Business is war and your need an effective networking plan to survive.
Start by defining your goals.
What exactly are you trying to achieve?
Who are you seeking?
Where will you find them?
How will you network?
Put all these tactics on a spreadsheet. Make a SMART goal and look towards achieving this.
Now that you have a plan, you have to go to your vast pool of contacts and start networking. There are obvious and not so obvious places to find your social capital
- Alumni’s: -This could be from Secondary School, University or Formal Workplace etc
- Contacts: Your phone book is a good place to start. Go through it and find the contacts that can add value to your business in this season
- Groups on Whatsapp: Even though Whatspp groups can be annoying especially when you’re bombarded with chats, it’s a very good forum for effectively networking
- Religious groups: You will be surprised at the business contacts you can gain from your religious groups. Just start by getting to know people better.
- Social Media groups: Most of my business contacts have come from effectively networking on these platform. I have been sought after through such platforms for speaking engagements and collaborations. I have also sold many training course too. You just have to connect with people
- Webinars & Live chats are another effective way to network. Most speakers leave there contacts details after their session. So get in touch with those that are useful for your social capital bank.
It’s so important to nurture relationships. You need to stay in touch with your contacts. Use a calendar and mark the dates to get in touch. Schedule appointments where you speak to your contacts. Also Find out dates of their birthdays and anniversaries and celebrate them.
You stay top of mind when you nurture relationships.
Give & Ask
Give your time on social media platforms of your contacts, give compliments, free advice, and referrals and even suggestions to your contacts. Aside from giving, do remember to ask questions, ask for business and ask for referrals. ‘’If you don’t ask, you dont get’’.
But always remember to give more than you receive.
So there you have 5 steps to help your business survive through networking. But this article would not be complete if I didn’t add some advice on Networking Etiquette.
Please do not stalk those that you are trying to build relationships. It’s the fastest way to get blocked especially on Social Media. Make sure you are professional and have boundaries for engagement. Be polite and always say thank you for their time. If you have a video call with a potential contact, please stick to time. As always, remember to follow through your conversations because you never know where it could lead to.
It’s never easy to do business, but in tougher times you need to be more strategic and intentional if you want your business is to survive.
So remember to empower your mind, have a plan, locate your networks, nurture relationships, give more than you ask and practice great etiquette.
What have you been doing to expand your social networks please share in the comment section?
I wish you the best