Building an effective business network is essential for any business professional in this day and age. Without a proper business network, you’re at a severe disadvantage compared to others on the playing field. The most successful business owners and executives know that the best way to become successful is by having a network of people you can depend on when you need them. Not to mention it costs virtually nothing. But first, let’s discuss why a business network is beneficial in the first place.
Why Should You Build a Business Network?
Building an effective business network means having connections in all the right places. It means reaping benefits that not everybody can. For instance, networking can generate a ton of freebies for you including access to private events, free meals, access to movie premiers, speaking engagement invites, entertainment, restaurant openings, and meet-ups, among other things. Having the right network in place means anytime you have a business idea, you can call those in your network and have your idea become a reality fairly quickly.
According to Entrepreneur.com, an effective business network helps you create a lasting impact and build authority, develops life-long friendships, and improve your self-worth by learning to help other people. Global interconnectedness can positively affect growing businesses by giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to thrive.
The fact that networks exist in the first place goes to show that you can’t do everything by yourself. You need help. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a business network to successfully grow a business.
Here are five ways business owners can build effective networks.
1. Dress Professionally
Before you do any networking, be sure you’re dressed for the part. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and buy a $1,000 suit, but you should opt for business attire. That means no baggy pants, T-shirts, open-toed shoes, tank tops, or revealed tattoos. Keep it classy. When you dress for success, you’re telling everyone around you that you mean business. You’re sending a message to the universe that you’re ready to grow, ready for change, and that you’re marked for success. So drab up and put on your Sunday best whenever you go out networking.
2. Utilize Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for creating an effective business network because there are millions of people active on it every day. The potential for finding people to include in your network is huge. Not only can social media help you grow your own following, but it can also help you connect with like-minded people through groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is a great tool for businesses that blog and it can help you grow your following, as well as build your network. You’ll start gaining followers who are interested in the same topics as you. Before you dip your toe in the social media networking pool, learn about each platform you want to use, how it works, and how each can benefit your business because each brings its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
3. Focus on Helping Others
If you focus on finding a way to help those you want to add to your business network, you’ll be on your way to creating a long-lasting bond and they’ll remember you as someone who helped them solve a problem. Adding value to the lives of your business associates can only benefit you in the long run. Naturally, when someone receives help from another person, they want to repay them in some way, shape or form later. This doesn’t mean you should go looking for favors, but instead, let it come naturally. Slowly, people will begin to recognize you as someone who helped them in a crucial way, which does wonders for not only your business brand but your personal brand as well.
4. Invest in Networking Every Day
Invest in networking every single day. That means investing your time, money and energy into forming new business relationships and maintaining the ones you already have. The most well-networked people in the world understand that you have to give to get anything in this world. Whether you invest your time, money, or energy, do it every day. Be consistent and you’ll reap the benefits. If you’re always looking to give rather than receive, you’ll never have to worry when the time comes for you to ask for what you need from your network.
5. Read Books on Networking
To improve your networking skills, learn from the best on how to build effective business relationships. Consider “Giftology” by John Ruhlin, “Networking is Not Working” by Derek Coburn, or “The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Network” by Joshua Cooper Ramo. Books like these can help you navigate your way through the beginning stages of networking by giving you tips on how to communicate effectively, who you should be talking to, and how to forge successful business relationships that you can learn and benefit from for years to come.
Now that you understand the importance of building an effective network of associates to aid you in growing your company, you have the foundation of what you need to get started on the path to success. Now it’s time to put this knowledge into action and get started building your business network using the above information as a guide. Don’t get left behind by failing to take advantage of these new systems and the wealth of information available out there.