Networking is tough. Between running your business, following up on inquiries, pulling off spectacular events, and all of the other things you do in your day-to-day, networking is probably at the bottom of your list. Throw the effects of the past couple of years of COVID-19 on top of that, and we’re out of practice.
This past week I put together a showcase for hotel catering and venue catering managers in southern California in order for them to meet. These professionals are hard at work, and rarely is there an opportunity for networking. And this got me thinking about networking.
When there’s so little time for networking on top of running your business, you need to make it count. The thing is, I see so many entrepreneurs and business owners struggling with networking. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
So today, I’m sharing five useful tips when it comes to your next networking event. Let’s dive in.
5 Mistakes to Avoid when Networking
- Choosing Quantity over Quality: Many businesses assume that more connections are better, but building relationships with the right people who can help your business grow is essential. Here in southern California, I know quality partnerships that have spanned decades, and that kind of collaboration comes from focusing on quality over quantity. Focus on building meaningful relationships with key influencers and decision-makers in your industry. Attend events, network online, and engage with your target audience on social media.
- Not Utilizing Social Media: Social media is a powerful tool for building and growing your network. Create a social media strategy that aligns with your business goals. Choose the right platforms for your target audience, develop engaging content, and be consistent in your posting.
- Not Following Up with Contacts: Building a strong network requires following up and nurturing those relationships over time. Always follow up with your contacts after meeting them — whether that’s sending them a quick email, connecting with them on LinkedIn, or scheduling a follow-up call to continue the conversation.
- Ignoring Networking Opportunities: Expand your networking opportunities beyond events and conferences within your industry. Attend local business groups, community events, and online forums aligned with your business goals.
- Failing to Provide Value to Your Network: Building a strong network is a two-way street. To avoid this mistake, focus on providing value to your network. Share useful information, connect people who may benefit from knowing each other, and be willing to help others without expecting anything in return.
Expanding your network as an entrepreneur is essential because it can help you find new business opportunities, potential clients, and partnerships, build your brand and credibility, gain emotional support, stay informed and adapt to changing market conditions.
By connecting with like-minded people and engaging with your target audience on social media and other platforms, you can increase your visibility and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, while building meaningful relationships with like-minded people who can offer valuable insights, advice, and feedback to improve your business.
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