Expanding your business network provides you and your company with more opportunities. You may find additional business partnerships, candidates to fill leadership roles, or new opportunities in your industry. The following methods will help you expand your business network.
Your Network is Your Net Worth
Before exploring how to expand your business network, refresh your memory on why this is so beneficial. Growing your network will offer the following benefits, among others:
- Strengthening business connections
- Gaining opportunities
- Improving your status and that of your company
- Sharing and gaining insight
- Finding creative ideas
Start by Expanding Your Current Network
No matter the size of your existing business network, you can use it to expand your network. Leverage the connections you already have, making connections with people and businesses they already connect with. Think of it as creating second-degree connections or third-degree connections. You will be surprised how many people you know if you make a list. Essentially, this method lets you capitalize the networks of everyone within your existing network.
Take Advantage of Business Networking Events
Most professionals are aware of the importance of professional networking events. Depending on your industry, these can be the best method of expanding your network. The type of event you will search for depends on your industry and needs. Options include networking mixers, business luncheons, trade shows, and workshops.
Have Goals Before Attending These Networking Events
Do not just show up to the business networking event and hope for the best. Prepare yourself to make the most of the event by setting goals and having a plan in place. One example of a goal could be introducing yourself to a particular attendee who holds a great deal of influence in your sector. Or your goal could be to introduce yourself to a certain number of attendees or attendees within a specific subset of your field.
By having these goals in mind, you will be ready to measure the success of the event. The plans also let you prepare. After all, you can craft an elevator pitch with your goal in mind.
Offer Something in Return When Expanding Your Network
As you expand your business network, remember that you want to create a two-way relationship. All parties involved need to benefit. For example, if someone offers to introduce you to someone, provide a similar favor in return. It could be introducing them to someone in your existing network or providing resources or time. Always be looking to help others when networking.
Expand on Simple Exchanges
After any business opportunity, you receive from your network, and you will likely exchange a “thank you” and a “you’re welcome.” Start thinking of these as the minimum. If you thank a connection, add a statement offering to return the favor. If you provide a “you’re welcome,” follow it up by letting them know you would gladly do so again. These responses will strengthen your connections and expand networking opportunities.
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