As a small business owner, you probably already know that great networking ideas can make all the difference to the success of your business.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easily done.
After all, a solid networking strategy requires a number of things:
- A framework of what you want to achieve
- Knowledge of networking best practises
- Target audience research
- Results monitoring
That’s a lot to take on as a business owner with an already-busy schedule.
However, with the increase in digital technology, networking is now more accessible – and popular – than ever before.
This is backed by Deloitte’s recent global market trends research, which reports that more than 70% of C-suite executives claim they value digital solutions that deepen their connections with other people.
So, it’s clear that if you want your business to be competitive, it’s important that you make the commitment to build relationships that make a difference.
What’s not always clear is where to start or what networking techniques are most effective for building your network and getting the most value out of it.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of our top networking ideas for small business.
Networking ideas for small businesses
1. Network with other businesses
One of the best ways to grow your small business is to network with other businesses – especially those in complementary industries.
For example, if you own a pet store, you could connect with local dog groomers, dog walkers, and pet supply stores.
By collaborating with other businesses, you can create opportunities to cross-promote your products and services, which can help increase brand awareness and boost sales.
You can also pool your resources to host events or workshops, which can be a great way to attract new customers and grow your business.
2. Network at events
Another great way to network is by attending events – both in-person and online.
There are plenty of networking events happening all the time, so there’s bound to be something that’s relevant to your industry or interests.
And, if you can’t find an event that’s a good fit, you could always host your own.
Not only is this a great way to connect with potential customers and partners, but it’s also a great way to show off your expertise and build your brand.
3. Network online
Although attending and hosting networking events in person can be effective, it has the downside of being time-consuming and expensive.
After all, business owners have better things to do than sitting on a train for 2 hours or having to drive to a networking event when fuel prices are at an all-time.
This is where online networking comes in.
There are plenty of ways to network online, whether it’s through social media, professional networking platforms, or even just by email.
The great thing about online networking is that it’s convenient and cost-effective – two things that are always important factors for small businesses.
4. Follow up with your contacts
Once you’ve made a connection, it’s important to follow up.
This may be obvious, but it’s one of the areas of networking that many businesses struggle with.
In fact, 38% of professionals reportedly have difficulties staying in contact with their network.
To keep your network engaged, we’d recommend having a process in place where you can keep track of your important contacts.
This could be something as simple as an excel sheet, or if you want to ensure your getting the most out of your efforts, opt for a dedicated system to help you keep track.
5. Track the value of your network
Last but not least of our networking ideas for small business is one of the most overlooked aspects of networking: tracking the value of your network.
This means understanding who your contacts are, what stage they’re at in the sales funnel, and what kind of ROI they’re bringing into your business.
By tracking the value of your network, you can ensure that you’re making the most out of your relationships and that you prioritise the connections that are creating the most value.
If you follow these suggestions in a systematic way, they have the potential to really transform the growth of your business.
However, for business owners that are already juggling a busy schedule, it can be difficult to make time to network effectively.
This is where NetHub comes in.
A solution that overcomes all of your networking hurdles
For business owners that want to build and manage networks that bring tangible value to their business, look no further than NetHub.
This is a new, cutting edge Networking Relationship Management platform that provides business owners with all the resources to manage, nurture, and track the value of their network.
From building strong, sustainable relationships with relevant businesses, to tracking leads and executing referral campaigns, NetHub has everything you could need for value-driven networking – all on one platform.
And best of all? It’s completely free to join.
We run a weekly 30-minute demo that takes you through how the platform works and what you can get out of it.
If you want to find out how your business could benefit, book a session with us to find out more.