One of the best strategies for growing my business is using networking opportunities. As a small business owner, you should never miss an opportunity to network — you never know when just one new contact can have a huge positive impact on your business' bottom line!

Networking Events

Contrary to popular belief, networking events are not business card dumpsters. In other words, don't go to networking events under the pretext of just passing out business cards.

The quality of new contacts is comparatively more important than the quantity. Attend networking events that attract people in your field of business. Don't limit your conversations just to those that can help you get more business. You need to connect with as many people as you can, because each person has their own network — one of which could potentially help your business in some area.

Here are a few guidelines that you should follow to ensure success during networking events:

  • Don't be shy at networking events! Instead, introduce yourself to lots of people and strike up conversations — if you don't get the ball rolling, who will?
  • Keep meetings short. Even if you are looking for quality, talk to many people. You need to meet as many people as you can in order to benefit from a few. You should also keep conversations short and to the point.
  • Networking events are the right time for giving “potentials” a peek into your business. The primary goal is building curiosity and excitement about your business. If you do this correctly, you'll notice that lots of people you meet at networking events will follow up with you long after the event is over.

In addition to the tips above, be approachable and be yourself. There's no better advertisement than that!