You might be looking to drum up new business or maybe just open up new relationships to augment and strengthen your business and skills. Either way, these small business networking tips are for you!
1. Business Card Etiquette
Business cards are your secret weapon! They’re fantastic tools for making sure people remember you, your business, and exactly how to contact you. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind.
- Business cards aren’t handshakes. You shouldn’t be giving them out to every person you meet and should only give your card to someone who asks for it.
- Make sure you keep them presentable. Pick up a business card case to ensure they don’t get crumpled, ripped, or stained.
- Invest in making your card stand out and be designed well.
- Don’t write on the card unless specifically requested.
- If someone asks for your card, ask for theirs too.
2. Repeat Names
If you’re anything like us, you can remember a face every time, but forget a name the moment you leave a conversation. If this sounds like you, this tip is a fantastic way to make a name stick.
When someone introduces themselves to you, repeat their name when continuing the conversation: “I’m John”, “Nice to meet you, John”.
Not only does this give your brain an extra kick to remember the name, but also allows you to appear friendlier, a win-win.
For more tips on remembering names, check out this article.
3. Do Your Homework
While this might not always apply, you’ll sometimes know who might be attending an event. Worst case, you will likely know the industries that this event will attract.
Do a little research about the person or industry, so you aren’t going in blind or completely unfamiliar with the topic. This will allow you to look more prepared while also giving you time to come up with deeper, more open-ended questions.
People like others who take a genuine interest in what they do or what they care about.
4. Follow Up
It’s really easy to leave a conversation or event with the intention of contacting them again, but never actually follow through.
You might get busy, or it might just slip your mind. This is why you should always make a plan (right after the meeting or event) with a list of people you want to follow up with.
If you wait too long, that opportunity might be lost!
5. Sell Yourself
Talking about yourself can be a hard thing for many people. However, it’s definitely something you should try to overcome when it comes to networking!
What are you good at? Do you have any skills to bring to the table? What knowledge do you possess that makes you an asset? These are all questions you should ask yourself and have ready because these are the things other business owners and entrepreneurs will want to know!
6. Have A Goal
Knowing why you’re attending a meeting, conference, or event before stepping foot on location is always a good idea.
Are you looking for talent to help your business grow? Need pointers from people who have done it before? Hoping to expand your client base with new prospects?
Having a goal in mind helps you narrow your focus, so you can use the limited time you have more effectively.