There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. If you own a small business, you know just how hard it can be to grow or expand that business over time.
Often times, the fastest way to grow your business is with the help of other people. That’s where the best business networking tips for small business owners come into play.
In this article, we’ll give you 7 tips that you can use to better network both you and your small business. We’ll help you find people to connect with, both locally and online, so you can share ideas and strategies with like-minded individuals.
- Attend Plenty of Local Events
It goes without saying, but the best way to network with other people is to get out there and meet new people face to face. If you live in a major city, finding plenty of local events in your area to attend is going to be rather easy.
If you don’t live in a major city, you may have to attend some local events that aren’t super relevant to your niche or do some traveling to nearby towns. Regardless, the best way to make new connections is still by getting out there and chatting with people in person.
- Host a Local Event Yourself
Having a hard time finding a local event in your area? Want to engage with other business owners nearby? Consider hosting a local event yourself!
If you already have the space needed to do this, hosting an event yourself is a no brainer. Renting an event space is also an idea worth pursuing, as hosting an event yourself comes with a few notable benefits.
For example, because it’s your event, you’ll be able to talk to plenty of people in person and exchange information. It’ll also help you establish some credibility in your field, which is extremely important for new business owners.
- Always Have Business Cards Handy
Whenever you’re at an event, there are a few business networking tips and tricks that you need to keep in mind if you want to be successful. Having plenty of business cards handy is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
A quality business card, with all of your information, helps people remember who you are. Also, if they need to reach out to you in the future, they’ll have everything they need, including an invitation to do so.
A pro tip? Consider investing in metal business cards to make a better impression. And, of course, be sure to take other people’s business cards, too, so you can initiate further conversation later on yourself.
- Listen More Than You Speak
We get it. You’re excited to be networking and talking with new people. But that excitement can lead to you talking too much and turning people off on you and your business, which isn’t what you want.
The best thing that you can do for yourself? Listen more than you speak. Have a few basic questions planned and pay close attention to yourself and how much you’re talking. That way you can learn more about other people, making it easier to find out who is worth knowing down the road.
- Sit With People You Don’t Know
If you’re new to networking and talking to new people isn’t your thing, it can be tempting to sit with people that you already know. This is going to limit the number of people you get a chance to know, as networking events don’t last forever and you can’t afford to waste time.
Because of this, we recommend that you sit with people that you don’t know, if possible. This will force you to meet new people, as well as give you plenty of time to chat with whoever is seated at your table.
- Use Websites Like LinkedIn
Of course, making new connections isn’t limited to in-person interactions. Thanks to the internet, you can meet new people from all over the world right from the comfort of your own home or office.
Websites like LinkedIn are a great tool to help you make new connections in the business world. They’re free to use, too, which means all you need to invest is your time.
- Follow Up at a Later Date
It’s far too common to meet someone at an event, exchange cards with them, and then never speak again. While not every new person you meet will be worth following up with, those that are should be reached out to again at a later date.
So, give it a week or so and make a call, or an email, to someone new that you meet. Maybe it’s someone who can help you get an insurance policy for your business. Or perhaps it’s someone who can help you market your brand better online.
Regardless, find a way to do business with them, or at worst maintain that new connection so you still have it in the future.
Looking for More Business Networking Tips?
The best business networking tips aren’t complicated. They do, however, require you to put forth some effort on your part to meet and communicate with new people.
And you never know, you might meet someone who can help you turn your small business into the next corporate juggernaut.
Looking for more ways you can grow your business the right way? Check back with our blog often, as we’re always talking about useful information for business owners.