When it comes to business, one factor that some business owners overlook is who they know. It can be surprising how your professional connections can be useful in the world of entrepreneurship. Whether it is a supplier who is willing to provide a discount or a customer who prefers your company because they know you, contacts are very important in business. The trouble is that not everyone is good at making connections or are looking for ways to do so. Fortunately, here are some tips on how to do so.
Go To Conventions
One of the best ways to connect with others in your industry is to go to conventions and trade shows. This is where all of your competitors, suppliers, and customers all show up. Meeting with all three can be useful for your operations. Your competitors are not always local and some don’t directly compete with you. They might even be out of your current market reach. Connecting with these people should give you an idea of how to run your own business. They might also be an avenue for you to grow your own. Connections with competitors can give you an opening to buy them if they ever get unlucky.
Suppliers and customers are the two other types of connections you meet at conventions. Suppliers are potential partners and grow your business by providing you with raw materials. Meeting up with them can help you find a food deal when necessary. Customers are your target market and who you should be aiming for with your attendance at these events.
Presenting at a convention or a trade show is not a simple thing. You need to be able to impress everyone. Have a solid presentation and even product samples if possible. Additionally, you’ll need a stack of business cards so that you can share your contact info with everyone.
Work On Your Social Media
Your online presence is an important part of how you can reach out and create a professional network. While you likely have a website for your business already, you also need to have your website. Since not everyone can build one, your best option would be social media. But Facebook is not the place for professional networking. If you want to reach out in the social media space, then you need to work on your profile on LinkedIn. The great thing about this social network is that it focuses on professional growth. Instead of photos of your vacation, you’ll be showcasing your professional achievements and what you can do. Think of it as a high-tech professional portfolio. It even allows you to publish articles that showcase your skills and beliefs.
The great thing about LinkedIn is that it is perfect for connecting with others. If you already have a connection with someone, you can ask their help to link up with people they think would be interested in your company. Be ready to return the favor though. In business, equal trade is important so exchanging contacts should be the norm. This is much better than cold-calling or emailing someone out of the blue. You will have someone vouching for you so that your potential contact will have a positive impression of you.
Get Into Sports And Other Interests
The professional setting is not the only place you can meet up and connect with people. It is better to spread out your network in a more friendly environment. For example, many business people find contacts through their other interests. If you have a social club that meets regularly, these are all potentially great business contacts. They may have their businesses and know people that can help you out.
Cultivating outside interests outside of your business can allow you to meet more new people and makes you interesting. Getting into them can be a path to building your network. An easy entry would be to enjoy a sport or two. For example, you’ve seen a lot of businesspeople play golf. Learn how to play and buy equipment like poker chip golf ball markers and you can be ready to meet potential contacts. It doesn’t even have to be that fancy. A weekly basketball pick-up game can also yield surprising contacts. The important thing is to meet new people.
Building up your professional network is not going to be easy. You’ll have to add it, person by person, and start cultivating them. Don’t just meet someone and forget about them until you need them. Call back and have regular meetings. The power of your connection is in the relationships and investing in that can be worth it.