Networking in a business environment or through friends and family can be a great way to establish strong business relationships. You never know who you might meet and that someone could open so many new doors for you and your business. While there are so many personal contacts and potential opportunities out there, they can be difficult to find, especially if you don’t know the right places to look. This article helps you do just that, giving you 8 ways to help you find networking opportunities whatever your business and wherever you are.
Do a simple Google search
Your first port of call should be to use Google’s search engine. Search for ‘networking events in…’ or ‘networking groups in…’ plus your location and you should find plenty of networking opportunities specifically in your area.
Check online networking sites
Get into the habit of regularly checking websites such as Meetup, EventBrite, Eventful, and others as these offer so many networking opportunities for you to choose from. From networking breakfasts or social groups to seminars, lectures and conferences, you can find whatever networking group suits you in your area. Consider signing up to their newsletter to receive regular updates on all the networking opportunities happening near you and get involved in a range of events.
Use social media
So many networking opportunities can be found via social media, especially on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Not only do both platforms allow you to filter your search for groups and events by keyword, location and industry, but they are also incredibly useful to build a network online and to keep up to date with events in your industry. By joining a group or industry association or connecting with an event page on social media, you can view the profiles of others who are members or who are planning to attend an event and keep in contact with them long after.
Join a non-networking group
Joining networking groups that are specific to your industry or business groups with like-minded individuals is very important for the growth of your business. With that being said, however, sometimes the people you meet in social situations can give you insight, inspiration, and contacts which may lead to opportunities for your business too. Building a network outside of work takes the pressure off you, so consider joining something that you enjoy doing and make it easy for yourself.
Start your own group or host an event
If you can’t find a group or event that works for you, then start your own! If you can only do certain times in the week or you do your best thinking when you run then set up a group on social media and invite people. If you’re feeling more confident, you could even sponsor an event for people in your industry or your client’s industry, let other organisations use your space for their event or run your own. Whatever your passion, combine it with the opportunity to network and you’ll make some of your best connections.
Build your existing relationships
Networking doesn’t always have to be outside of your business. In fact, some of the best networking opportunities are actually generated internally and they come from your existing clients. Referrals are an incredibly valuable way to network and grow your business and they can lead to you taking on loyal clients who offer the type of work that you want, so focus on developing your existing relationships. Strengthen your relationship with three or four key clients that you have a good rapport with and who you can form a mutually beneficial partnership.
Volunteer your time
Have you considered supporting a cause and volunteering your time as a potential networking option? If not, find a non-profit organisation that you want to help. Many business individuals attend charity events so these present a great opportunity for you to get involved and make connections. Volunteering has real potential for you to grow a network of like-minded people and it reflects well on you and the reputation of your business too.
Become part of an international community
Networking opportunities can be found anywhere, so if you’re looking for help and support in other areas of your business, consider joining a community such as Business Basecamp that can help you with both. From supporting you with your business strategy to providing you with the tools to move towards business success, Business Basecamp also connects you with hundreds of other like-minded business women who will come on your business journey with you.
Whether your business is big or small, whatever your industry and wherever you are, you can use these 8 different ways to find a range of networking opportunities for you to begin building lasting relationships. Connections are the key to growth and success, so make time to network and you will be sure to reap the rewards.