24th, November, 2017

Make networking work for you

When it comes to raising your business’s profile, networking is unavoidable. That might be why the thought of it terrifies people; it’s the elephant in the room when you’re wondering how to boost company awareness, and doing everything you can to think of ideas other than standing in a room with people you’re sure are ten times better at everything than you are. Networking can be a very rewarding experience though, if you go about it the right way.

When you’ve plucked up the courage to attend an event and are stood clutching your business cards, desperately trying to find a friendly-looking face, just take a deep breath and think of it more as an opportunity to learn, and to introduce yourself more than your company. That sounds odd, but people tend to invest more in business-owners, rather than businesses.

Pick your event wisely

There is a wide choice of events to attend, depending on what you want to get out of it. If you want to meet lots of people who are on a similar level to you and learn from each other’s experiences, then this size of event is perfect for making contacts.

If, however, you want to put yourself out there in front of larger companies with a view to broaching investment or acquisition, then a more corporate event is going to be of value.

Avoid the sales pitch

Networking isn’t a platform for selling, so keep those business cards in your pocket. Treat your time at one of these events as a chance to meet lots of people, talk about yourself and your company – without being pushy – and listen. If you end up speaking to someone who you feel may be a useful contact in the future, then that’s the time to hand out a business card.

Collect information

On business cards, it’s an idea to pick up more than you give out. Getting as much information as possible means that you can then sort through it all and work out who realistically could be a good contact. You’ll kick yourself if you realise you didn’t pick up a card from someone who may have been valuable.

Seek out a referral

If you’re at the right kind of event and are looking to raise more awareness about what you do with people who may back you, spend a good amount of time talking to them about yourself, what you do and who your current clients/customers are, and then ask if they’re aware of anyone like you who may be a valuable connection.

If they don’t know anyone similar, they may be able to point you in the right direction to someone with a better awareness who may.

Networking is like anything new; it’s initially scary, as it’s the first time doing something different, and requires you to be totally confident in yourself and your business in front of others.

Remember to breathe, treat it as a chance to connect with helpful people, and enjoy the process.

At Lockwood and Rann Investments Limited, we share our knowledge of Learning and Development, HR, Legal, Marketing, Digital and Finance with entrepreneurs in small to medium healthcare and recruitment business.

To find out more about our services, contact our team on 01225 326 390 or enquiries@lockwoodandrann.com.