People are the lifeblood of every business. Partners, investors, staff members and clients make your business what it is, and they propel it into what it can be. Making connections with the right people is inherent to continued success. The following are eight ways to make more high quality connections within your industry:
1. Do Your Homework
If there are particular contacts you hope to make, you should find out as much as possible about them. Read public Internet pages such as their LinkedIn page and other social media accounts. Do Google searches to find any news items or noteworthy mentions online, such as awards, charities they have been involved with, etc. That way when they do finally cross your path, you will be well informed and more likely to make a connection.
Consider volunteering for organisations relevant to your industry. From offering your services a few hours a month to taking a board position, your efforts will allow you to make a name for yourself and circulate among people who could become clients and allies.
3. Invest in Current Connections
Even as you’re making new connections, don’t forget about the ones you’ve already made. Determine the top 10 to 15 most valuable business connections you already have and resolve to keep in regular contact. You may do so by sending holiday and birthday cards as well as relevant resources to keep the doors of communication open.
4. Optimise Your Social Media Pages
In the past, connections as well as business deals were made with a handshake offline. Today, online pages like LinkedIn and Facebook can be portals to numerous new, beneficial contacts. Take the time to make sure all of your business social media pages are reflecting the image you want to convey.
5. Be Helpful
Even if you don’t formally volunteer somewhere, make it a habit of being helpful with your time, energy and resources. You’ll gain a reputation around your industry of being a high quality, genuinely good person. This in turn will make it more likely that people will recommend you and seek out your business when they need your particular product or service.
6. Break From the Norm
When networking, find ways to think outside the box. If you normally talk to people around your age and academic background, try breaking out of that and talking to people who don’t fit your usual mould. You just never know who you’ll meet and what doors might open up. Diversity within your contacts could lead to unforeseen opportunities.
7. Start a Mastermind Group
Mastermind groups have been used for decades to build business connections and facilitate new ideas. Create a core group, then invite new participants at each meeting to change up the dynamic.
8. Participate in Exhibitions
Trade shows and other business exhibitions are another opportunity to connect with clients, vendors and potential partners. A booth at these events allows you to put your business on display and raise awareness in the industry. Invest in high quality exhibition stands to ensure you make the right impression, attract visitors, and make new connections.
Companies such as Apex specialise in creating exhibition stands tailored to your business. Getting a professionally designed exhibition stand is a great way to maximise your presence at an exhibition, and takes away the strain of trying to do it yourself.
Networking and making key connections is crucial to business success. “Who you know” is just as important as having a high quality product or service. Use these eight tips for getting out there and creating mutually beneficial relationships.