Saturday, 1 September 2012

Networking for the Small Business Owner

If networking is not your thing and/or not working for you then this post is for you.

Are you daunted by the prospect of meeting new contacts for the first time?

I think most of us are at least initially somewhat nervous about the prospect of talking about ourselves and what we do to complete strangers.

So how do you know if someone is worth talking to and what tips are there for better networking?

From experience dressing for the occasion is quite important. For example smart is one thing but a suit may be too much for some events. It is possible to overdress and make you less approachable at an informal meeting for new businesses, for instance.

You may also want to have a drink to loosen up before speaking to people so that you can be relaxed and friendly which, like relaxed smart dress, can make you more approachable to others.

Aim to talk to as many people as you can in the time available having a structure to your conversation with a few helpful questions such as what is your business? how does it operate? what services do you buy in? who do you tend to network with?

Then think: can you help them in a way to showcase what you do? If you can help them out, even in a small way such as giving them some information, do it, as we tend to reap what we sow.

Even if you cannot see how someone can help grow your business now, they might in future and they might be able to refer you on.

If you have an interesting and relevant conversation with an individual you can suggest exchanging business cards.

Perhaps if there looks like a good mutual business opportunity such as one of you potentially serving the other or if there could be, then I think suggesting a coffee to talk about it further in a few days time, is a good idea to make progress.

Do let me know how you go and if you would like to undertake coaching to improve your networking and business development skills and psychology then please get in touch via

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