Businesses take time to establish and most entrepreneurs spend day and night working towards building a solid foundation. Too often, entrepreneurs focus on marketing, setting a proper workspace, hiring the right individuals, and investing tons of money to further solidify its basis. While there is nothing wrong with following these strategies, after all, it is one of the most followed blueprints. However, doing all of this while ignoring networking can cost you dearly.

If you look at it, networking is an important skill which creates lucrative opportunities for business-minded individuals. After all, networking is all about forming relationships with such individuals who have the potential to A) introduce your setup to other people and B) bring lucrative opportunities to your doorstep. That said, there are a few things that you need to keep in your mind before going out for the purpose of networking.

Be selective when it comes to attending events

A business in any targeted niche means that you, as an entrepreneur, get to be a part of tons related or unrelated events. While it is okay to shy away from such events, it is a great networking opportunity for such people who know what they want and how they want it.
Non-profit events, dinners, charities or any special gala may have the right people in attendance that can provide you with an opportunity to extend your brand’s reach.

However, you need to approach this strategy with care since not everyone, involved with bigger organizations, would help in bringing business to you. So, how can you turn such events in your favor? You can do this by focusing your time in finding the right individuals and then directing your energy toward trying to make that person a fan of your organization without being too obvious.

If you can get your hands on the list of attendees, that would be great! From there you can extensively search each name on the internet. Try to narrow your list down to a couple of names, such names that are already involved in your niche and may have a list of potential clients which they could share with you.

Keep in mind that networking and leveraging this opportunity into your business is a two-fold relationship. So, you have to be strategic with it! Find such connection opportunities that not only benefit you but it also benefits your networking contact’s organization.

Never sell or instantly pitch ideas

You must be well-familiar with the saying ‘If you want something, ask for it.’ Well, in this environment, you could do better than following this adage. If you go up to someone and start talking business straight away, you may not leave a lasting impression. When someone visits events outside of business, discussing business opportunities is the last thing they want to do. So, you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd.

If you are certain that you will be seeing a lot more of certain individuals in the future, you should keep the introductory phases casual! Start by a smaller introduction and introduce your business without making any specific requests as this should be a discussion for future meet-ups. The first meetings should always be reserved for assessing the characters and figuring out whether that individual can help you or not. If your target does not show any potential, move on to the next target and start all over again. On the other hand, if someone has the right potential that could benefit your business, get friendly with them first and then make business requests later on in the future.

That said, you can easily get away with asking for business if you are networking with close acquaintances or family members. Since they are familiar with your needs, they will be more than willing to help your business grow!

Step outside your comfort zone

It never hurts to step outside your comfort zone for the sake of finding the right networking opportunities to be leveraged in your business. Networking can be especially hard when you are not used to having the company of tons of people around you. If that is the case with you, then here is a tip: call the potential networks over for a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation.

Networking is not about going out to events to make hundreds of contacts. Rather, it is about finding the right individual that could help bring lucrative opportunities to your business. This, you can easily achieve from by organizing smaller affairs. Remember, it all comes down to how well you identify the right contacts. So, it does not matter whether you are networking from an event or straight from a small coffee shop; because both of them would generate desired results.

Never be afraid to ask for help

Majority of the people hold themselves back as they are afraid to ask for help. Not trying to come off as needy or someone who is struggling with a particular business aspect, many entrepreneurs shun the idea of asking for support or assistance. However, it does not need to be like this. To move forward, you need to look around for help because if people do not know that you need help, how else are they going to help you?!

Despite this, many people find it difficult to articulate their needs and shy away for numerous reasons, i.e. coming off as stupid, appearing as vulnerable, feeling inadequate, and whatnot! However, networking is all about rising above the empty noise and getting in touch with the right contact. If you do not want to do this for own self, then do it for the sake of your business!
It is like we said earlier, step out of your comfort zone and ask for help. This will help you move ahead with your goals of building an empire!

Final thoughts

In this age of tons of available communication channels, networking has moved on from the traditional meet-up setting to a much more broader sense. The availability of various social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, has made it even easier for people to find, identify, and connect with the potential contacts. Of course, to work social media, you need to have a fast internet connection. Wi-Fi is the most obvious choice but if this is not what you are looking for then you can explore other options like Ethernet or coaxial cables. With the latter option, you can work with every available variety, except a couple of kinds including the RG-58 Cable since it works best with radio communication.

All in all, the secret to successful networking and the ability to leverage your networks into your business lies in how well you strategize and plan ahead. Once you have a clear plan that you feel confident with, you can easily realize all your important business goals!

Author's Bio: 

Shawn Mike has been working with writing challenging clients for over five years. His educational background in the technical field and business studies has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Shireen Inc.