Networking is one of the most overlooked skill sets of today’s generation. Despite the unprecedented connectivity that the digital age brings, few people know how to make real professional connections that mutually benefit all parties involved.
Effective business networking is about cultivating strong positive relationships with other professionals. It’s not something that you achieve in a day. If you don’t follow up with your business connections, they will easily forget about you and will be less receptive to any business proposals you may throw their way in the future. Follow up at least once a month. Ask them about any new startup ideas or side projects they are currently working on.
Give More Than You Receive
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should lend all your hours, brainpower, or capital to keep your business connections happy. But if an opportunity presents itself, be the first one to extend a helping hand. When you attend networking events, approach people and ask them how you can help them solve their problems. Even if you don’t find someone who needs your help, they’ll still see the gesture as a positive.
Showcase Your Knowledge and Skills
Entrepreneurs who exude the technical prowess, skill set, or even just a likable charisma organically attract other like-minded business folks. Use social media platforms to showcase what you can offer. Create tutorials and courses, mentor other people, and publicize your results. Become the resource for whatever niche you are serving, be it clothing or real estate, and people will flock to you for answers.
Always Have Something to Show
Business opportunities are often spontaneous in nature. You don’t expect to meet a potential investor on your visit to the public park, but it’s good to be prepared at all times. Have something to show, such as a prototype of your product, a website that details your service, or even just sketches and blueprints. Act as if you’re always on your way to a business conference or marketing event.
Building the right network takes years to learn and master. What’s most important is to start today. Even the smallest efforts of direct messaging someone on Twitter or emailing the CEO of a company can pay huge dividends later on.