Your network is everything; business is often conducted via personal connections and recommendations (Social Capital.)
Ensure you utilise your social capital, reconnect with old friends, talk to family and even look to be introduced to someone new every day.
Use your growing network to increase itself, refer other businesses, pass them a business card and because you have left them with a tangible product you will find that they will more often than not return the favour.
Clubs and societies are an excellent way to meet likeminded people and often even include breakfast, brunch and drinks! At these events it is easy to engage other people, ask their opinion on your business, this will help break down barriers, strengthen your connection and you might just learn something! Remember to leave something that will remind them about you and your business such as leaflets or a printed brochure (which is arguably the most important piece of literature that a company can commission.)
When you or someone in your network speaks be, active and constructive. Engage in conversation and show your enthusiasm whilst being curious, and supportive. Create a positive energy around yourself and your business.
I have found that online networking i.e. Linkedin, Facebook etc… can grow your social capital very quickly but they tend not to be strong connections. Online networking offers quick exposure and brand awareness to potential customers whilst offline networking such as direct mailing of leaflets or meeting up personally and handing out brochures is slower but tends to create a more solid, loyal network; Therefore it’s imperative to run both an online and offline networking strategy. By growing your business organically the clients you gain will have an increased level of loyalty to you and you to them so never underestimate their worth.
The Business Card is the most important networking tool.
Remember to follow up every new connection you make because the larger your network the better your business will perform.
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