Your business is up and running. You have a few regular customers. And your business is setup on a host of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. But business is growing – rather slowly.
In this situation, what do you do?
The answer is simple – network! Not only is networking (online and offline) a great way to meet new and interesting people, but there are lots of places to network. In fact, you have lots of opportunities to network each and every day, we just overlook them.
If you’re not seeing the results you would like with your business, you can’t just sit there – you need to look for places to network.
5 places to network
Social Media is one of my favorite places to network. Not only do I get the opportunity to share what I love, but I also get the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people without wasting too much time on the road.
A great place to start is the search box on any popular social network. How can this help me? Social networks contain tons of data – all you need to do is search. Try searching for specific keywords related to your business or people who you already do business with. Once you have come across a few prospects, don’t blast them with your elevator pitch.
Instead, let them know how you found them – do you share a mutual friend, are you in the same groups on LinkedIn, do you not know them at all? Then ask them if you can connect with them for networking opportunities.
Another great place to network is at conferences or meetups. The great thing about networking at conferences or meetups is that you’re typically at a conference with other like-minded individuals who are in the same field. Don’t look at these people as competitors. Instead, look at them as friends. People who you might be able to leverage to help your business grow or someone who can help open the door for you at some point down the road.
The gym/sports team
Working out isn’t just a way to relieve stress and to get some exercise. It also presents tremendous opportunities to network outside of your business. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Just because you’re playing a competitive game of (insert your sport here), look to spend a few extra minutes with your teammates or even players from the other team. Chances are, their full-time job isn’t being an athlete.
At one point or another, you’ve probably started reading an article you liked by an author and got sucked in. Pretty soon, you’ve subscribed to their blog and the first thing you do every morning is you read their latest posts. Shortly after, you decided to start your own blog because their writing motivated you to do so.
Blogging is a great place to network. Not only does it give you a creative outlet for your own writing, but you can get to know others who share a similar interest who can help open doors for you, provide you with insight, and may even be open to reviewing some of your products or know someone who can help.
Instead of keeping your business private, consider reaching out to bloggers. Many of them offer a contact form. Also don’t be shy to look them up on a social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn.
One additional place you can network at are alumni events. For some reason, we dread class reunions or returning back to our alma mater. We shouldn’t. Instead, we should embrace them. Just because you’re approaching your ten, twenty or thirty year class reunion, don’t let this stop you from meeting your old friends and learning what they have been up to. What’s great about alumni events is that you have a shared connection with the people who are there and in most cases, you already have a small relationship built, which you can build from.
Remember, when you use any of these 5 places to network, keep in mind that networking does not mean selling your business the first time you meet someone. I realize you’re really excited; however, put yourself in the place of the person you are speaking with. How would you feel?
Instead, take things slow, get to know the people you are interacting with, and gradually ease your business into the conversation. This way you are building solid relationships with the people you meet that you can use to build and grow your businesses network.
What other places do you like to network at? Leave your comments below.