When it comes to networking it’s not just about ‘who you know’, it is also about ‘who knows you’. Business relationships are a key ingredient for turning that great idea into a successful business venture. Networking with the right people at the right time can open up the right doors for you and your business.
We have compiled a list of our top 5 networking tips to help you make the most of every networking opportunity available to you. Whether you’re a tenant at Co.Space or an entrepreneur who is looking to up their networking skills, these tips will help you grow your network.
1: Seek and embrace opportunities to socialise
The first step to networking like a pro is to identify the places where the people you would like to network with hang out, be it other entrepreneurs, suppliers, investors, customers or mentors.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner who is renting a working space with us, you’ve probably noticed the buzz and energy of other entrepreneurs at Co.Space. We have created a community of entrepreneurs for you to network with on a daily basis at the Hub or at our regular networking sessions. The Hub is where most of the tenants go to have coffee or catch up, its relaxed setting offers a good chance to start up a conversation with fellow entrepreneurs. With so many like-minded people in one space, you’re bound to run into people you can learn from, do business with and even those that need your expertise, products or services.
Networking doesn’t always have to be scheduled, just properly timed. What this means is, you don’t have to arrange a meeting with the people you would like to meet, you can just go where you’re likely to meet them (around the time they’re likely to be there).
2: Learn how to introduce yourself
When you’re in a social setting for the purpose of networking it’s easy to think about yourself as a business and forget that people will respond to your personality first. So instead of saying “Hi, I’m Joe. I’m a designer” simply introduce yourself as “Joe” and let the conversation naturally progress to what you do as an entrepreneur.
3: Learn how to introduce your business
Master the art of perfecting your one-minute business pitch. This ensures that you know how to clearly communicate who you are and what you do in a way that makes you come off as confident. It also leaves less room for you to ramble when you’re caught off guard. You’ll probably be asked about your line of work a few times, so prepare yourself and practise your perfect bite-sized pitch.
4: Be prepared and get online
Apart from preparing your pitch, you should also prepare yourself however else you can. Do you have business cards? Carry a few of them around so that you can offer them to the people you network with. Make use of digital platforms for your business, like social media or a website so that people can look your business up later if they want to. Have samples of your work available for people at your workspace or online, depending on your line of business.
5: Be an active listener
As much as you want to get yourself and your business out there, it’s important that you are also interested in what others have to say about themselves and their businesses. Not only will this build more valuable relationships, it will also give way to beneficial working opportunities.
The importance of networking is to build good working relationships with those around you. However, these relationships should be real and of value to both you and the other person.
So don’t just network for the sake of building a client or fan base. Build real relationships and work towards actively maintaining them. If you’re a Co.Space tenant, head to The Hub and put these tips into practice. Meet, mingle and make meaningful business relationships.