Networking for your small business does not have to be stressful!
Meeting new people; how many of us do this daily basis? In general, most of us do. We meet them in the line at the store, at the register at the gas station, while watching our children’s sporting events and this seems very easy and relaxing.
However once you change the words from ‘meeting people’ to ‘networking’ this becomes incredibly stressful to most of us. Why? All we did is change a word.
The dictionary defines networking as: ‘a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest’. This definition isn’t any different than just plain ole ‘meeting people’. So why is it so stressful and how do we get past this?
Step 1: Mindset
It is fair to say that mindset plays a huge role in the stress. You simply need to change your mindset surrounding the whole networking game. Networking is something you can do everywhere; in line at the store, at the register at the gas station and while watching our children’s sporting events. If you start here in these comfortable areas and work your way towards a scheduled business card exchange, just think how good you will become.
Step 2: Time
Networking is the marketing and education of yourself and business. You need to schedule productive time to network. Start with a simple meet & greet. You can find some great events at online in your local area just like I found many here: www.minnesotanetworking.com . You also need to set your networking to be done on a consistent basis where you will be able to gain trust among your fellow networkers.
Step 3: Market
When you are researching your networking opportunities, keep in mind the group you will be networking with. Are they the target market you are looking for? Do they have an on-going schedule of networking events? Are they located in the area you are striving for? Are they open for new members? Some networking groups such as BNI only one profession per chapter is allowed however your local chamber of commerce allows multiple members of a profession take part.
Step 4: Appearance
So what should you wear to a networking event? Dress to Impress!! Nothing speaks more than a first ‘visual’ impression and if you are wearing your business attire you will impress. Keep your jeans and t-shirts at home for these events. Remember to bring plenty of business cards to share abundantly and if your cards don’t look impressive, that may not help others remember you. Triton Marketing is one of the top rated business card designers and printers and they will get you noticed.
Step 5: Just go out and DO it!
The best way to get really good at networking is to just go out and do it. You might stumble at first, however just like riding a bicycle, you will improve with each attempt!