Effective Networking Tips

When you've got your business plan ready and your lovely new products are off the drawing board, your website has been set up and you're about to start marketing your new business, suddenly it dawns on you that you should be networking locally and regionally to get new business.

Yes, why not?

Start networking with these effective networking tips for freelancers and home business owners

Check out these suggestions and ideas to be sure you are using effective networking techniques to pitch your business to anyone you meet at networking events and local network groups.

Start networking with these effective networking tips:

1. Plan your networking programme.
2. Choose the time of day that suits you.
3. Locality or networking topic may be suitable.
4. Mary advises that there is no point in turning up for ‘the opening of an envelope’ if is not relevant to your business.
5. Breakfast meetings are particularly good because they don’t eke into the working day. You may well find this energizes or motivates you.
6. Naturally the same can be said of evening events, but be careful not to burn the candle at both ends.
7. Networking during the day needs to be considered a lot more carefully. You will be giving up your working hours for this event so it needs to be constructive, effective and relevant. Otherwise you are wasting your time on the wrong event.
8. Be strict with yourself and chose well. Over time score or quantify the benefits you are getting from the event.

We believe that to be effective at networking you should choose the right type of event, gathering or social networking site for your business. Identify and target groups and connections which are relevant to your aims and capabilities.

Relevance can be according to several different things, for example:

  • Geography
  • Size
  • Sector

The more relevant your targeting of groups and contacts, the more useful your meetings and referrals will be. Try different types of networking, but don’t do too many as you won’t have enough time in the day to do important follow ups!  
    
It is really important to follow up contacts made, if you are given a business card, write something personal about the individual on the reverse of the card so you can ensure that your follow up emails or phone calls have the personal touch.

What To Do With Networking Business Cards

Business cards collected should be treated carefully:

1. Start your own database by building all the details onto an excel spread sheet. If you have the money you can invest in a CRM system, but at least get the info on an excel spread sheet to start with.

2. Contact relevant people after an event to arrange one to one meetings. It is particularly good to find a business you have a synergy with, you most likely will help each other. Real networking takes place when meeting up for a coffee or lunch (depending on your budget).
 
3. File the cards for some time in the future, but leave a note about where you met the person or anything else about them that will jog you memory.

4. Bin what you don’t need. It doesn’t take long to have a clutter of business cards and you have no idea where they come from or who they belong to.

Get started with your local networking programme now. Or give online networking a try with iHubbub's online speed networking. Our first session was fantastic with our home business members networking in their slippers.

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