Starting your own network can be hard. Knowing where to go, who to turn to, identifying which people could be of benefit to you. Boosting your existing network in a saturated industry, or one where there’s a lot of other people to keep up with can be even harder. Getting yourself heard and noticed is important.
Utilise your friends
We all know that first impressions are important and if you’re clever, your own friends can be extensions of your first impression. If they’re spreading a good word, in a great way, people will seek you out through the relationship they’ve gaged from your friends. If you’ve got ideas and projects worth sharing, start where it’s easy and get backing from your pals.
Keep your colleagues close and your competitors closer
Your competitors don’t always have to be the enemy. Connecting with similar sized companies, or bigger competitors can open up a lot of doors. There’s a lot to be said for learning from others, tricks of the trade or even proposing a collaborative project. The perks of collaboration are endless – you can play to one and others strengths and you can expand your network rapidly. Not only by connecting with someone else’s network, but it’s a sure found way of obtaining referrals and recognition.
Give your clients something more
Start with the little things. A well formulated email signature, a well composed logo. Keep on top of your social media presence. It doesn’t have to be often, but make sure it’s regular. People look for consistency, so a couple of posts on set days will keep them keen and looking forward to their latest company fix. If you’ve got the time, set up a monthly newsletter and keep people updated with what you’re working on. If you think it’s something worth sharing, then your network will probably think it’s worth sharing with other people too.
Be social, but in person
Whilst many people seek to build their community through the internet, it’s important to remember that value of face to face communication. There’s a lot to be said for the power of word of mouth. With everybody shaping their online presence in a carefully curated way of how they wish to be perceived, it’s refreshing to identify someone’s true personality. Seek out local events to show your face at. Hold something of your own. If people have got a face to connect with, they tend to be more loyal (well, if they dig you of course).
So it’s all well and good having a list of ways to increase your business network, but how to make use of your business network is a different story. Having 50 new A-grade connections will become pointless if you don’t maintain your business relationships or do anything with them. Contact them, find out their ideas and goals. Most importantly, listen to them.
If you’re looking to expand your network one of our Spaces locations is the perfect location to do so. Grab a coffee to get your brain ticking, and start up a conversation with one of our members.