A network of trusted advisors is one of the most valuable assets a business owner can have. However, it’s not just the quantity that’s important; this group should be driven by quality. So how can you start building quality connections with other entrepreneurs? Here are five tips that will help you grow your entrepreneurial networks.
Be Active on Social Media
One of the fastest, easiest, and most effective ways to grow your network is to develop a prominent social media presence. If you haven’t already, make a business account on the big four platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms provide the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs while also promoting your startup. You’ll also be reaching different demographics on each platform, meaning a wider, more diverse network for you.
Meet Local Business Owners
Sometimes the best entrepreneurial connections are right in your own neighborhood. Search online for meetups with other local business owners. Living in the same area will establish a commonality and make building a strong connection easier. Plus, you’ll start developing a local support group for your startup. Having people nearby in your corner can make all the difference when you’re just getting started.
Join Entrepreneurship Groups
There are endless online groups for anything under the sun, so take advantage. Websites like Meetup allow you to network with other entrepreneurs and schedule meetups across the country. You can also search for entrepreneurship groups on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn too. Networking on a national level can help you diversify the types of people in your network and introduce you to contacts you wouldn’t have met otherwise! If you’re looking to expand your network beyond local connections, this is a great place to start.
Show That You’re Worth Connecting With
Nobody enjoys feeling like they’re being used, so make sure your connections know you’re in it for the long haul. When reaching out to someone new, make sure you offer a reason for why you’d like to connect and what you’d bring to their network.
If you’re great at web design, ask them if they need help designing a website for their startup. If you went to the same college, reminisce on your school’s traditions. When reaching out to a potential connection, they already know you see value in having them in your circle—give them a reason to want you in their network too.
Be Genuine and Authentic
Believe it or not, people can tell when you’re not being genuine. When meeting someone for the first time, get to know them before diving into important business conversations. Find commonalities outside of the business world that shows them, “Hey, I’m a real person.”
Going straight into business talk shows people that you only care about what they can offer you, not who they truly are—nobody wants to help someone with that mindset. Start every new connection like you’re building a friendship, and the business opportunities will come naturally.
Networking isn’t a skill everyone is born with, but it can be developed through hard work and dedication. These 5 networking tips will have you well on your way to developing your ideal entrepreneurial network. If you’re looking to grow your business beyond the networking aspect, it might just be time for you to consider hiring a business coach.