Networking may not be the reason why you got into business, but it’s certainly one of the reasons you’ll stay in business. It’s a great way to get your name out there, fish for prospective investors and lenders to help with small business working capital and familiarize yourself with the competition. While walking into a room full of strangers or, at best, acquaintances, may put you on edge, if you want to run a successful company, you’ll need to know how to make the most out of a networking event. Here are a few tips to help you improve your networking skills and benefit your business:
Smile and take a moment
It may seem simple, but smiling is an easy way to start a conversation. If you look friendly and approachable, not only will strangers be more receptive to holding a conversation with you, they’ll also be more likely to stick around to hear what you really have to say.
If you’re nervous, turn that energy away from negative thinking and into positivity. You’d be amazed how much of a difference it can make to pause outside of the room before entering, calm your nerves for a moment and put on a smile. You’ll seem confident and relaxed when talking to strangers – what’s better, you may actually put yourself at ease. And as time goes on, you’ll get used to networking and feel more confident each time around.
Be honest about your passions
If you’ve found yourself in the midst of an interesting conversation while networking, take this opportunity to not only listen to others, but also to promote your brand. It’s what you’re there for after all. One of the best ways to get the word out about your personal and professional brands is to be honest about why you launched a business in the first place. What are your passions? Share these with new acquaintances – if nothing else, it will help people remember your name and your business.
Networking has great potential to benefit your business in a variety of ways. Successful networking can help you acquaint yourself with the local business scene, find new allies and even, in some cases, discover new ways to obtain funding. However, achieving this last point is by far the most difficult, making it important to contact lenders like National Funding to find out more about your small business loan options.