Where does networking and business development sit in your never-ending list of tasks that come with being a business owner? Here’s how to start networking more effectively with business owners in your area.
Making a few good local business connections can go a long way helping your business grow, so really, it should be one of your priorities. Networking can spark mutually beneficial partnerships, lead to new opportunities, and attract more customers through word of mouth.
In the age of social media, small business owners may think networking isn’t as valuable as it used to be. On the contrary, it’s just as important for people to get to know your face out and about in the community as it ever was. And fellow business owners are much more likely to refer you once you’ve met in person, even if you’re known for running a successful business online.
Check out our tips on how you can efficiently build connections with local business owners in your area.
Join local business groups
Getting involved with some of your local networking or referral groups is a great way to increase your visibility.
As an active member you’ll quickly get to know a host of other small business owners to bounce ideas off of, partner up with on projects, and support each other’s professional growth.
Help your local community
One of the simplest ways to network (without feeling like you’re networking!) is to get involved in projects that benefit your local community.
Not only will you be donating your time to a good cause, but charity events present an opportunity to work with community leaders and other business people – a fantastic chance to spread positive word of mouth about your business.
A few initiatives that we have been involved in include:
- Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout
- Classroom of Hope
- Telethon Swim Thru Perth
We’ve even held plenty of our own fundraising events; check out some of them on our community page.
Doing good work in your community will help you get to know other small business owners you can refer your customers to, and who may return the favor.
Pro networking tips
Here are a few proven ways to make better business connections at your next community event:
- Do a bit of background research on the people you’d like to connect with. When you meet in person, you’ll be able to break the ice more easily with a question or two prepared in advance, or know of something they have recently been involved with as a conversation starter
- Follow up immediately after meeting someone.
- Be helpful. Networking isn’t about what a new connection can do for you. Ask how you can help your fellow business owners. Be supportive. Share ideas and information.
Networking with local business owners can do much more for your business than help you gain exposure in your community.
Running a small business can be a lonely venture at times – especially if you work with remote staff or you’re operating as a freelancer or solopreneur.
Connecting with other businesses in your area can certainly boost your business, but it can also lead to close friendships, as well as mentorship opportunities, you’d never come across any other way.
Carbon host networking events in Perth every quarter. Why not come along to our next one and join up to 100 professionals over a drink or two? Head over to our media and events page to keep an eye on our next event.
Check out our events!
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