Here at TheOBunce, we’re obsessed with technology. We love self-starting entrepreneurs who use tech to their advantage. We help people learn about the web and teach them the first steps on the road to internet business. However, one of the things we’ve noticed since starting the blog is that people tend to hide behind their websites. We make Twitter profiles and social media accounts. We build websites and send emails.
But we never truly get out and network. Networking is still the number one way of powering your business. It’s the best way to find new clients, meet potential investors, and grow your online company. It’s also the best way for new graduates to find a job. Today, we’ll show you how to get out from behind your website, and make connections that will take you forward. We know it doesn’t always come naturally, so we’ll start slow!
Let’s start in your comfort zone. We understand that throwing most people into a crowded room or bar isn’t going to work. Plus, it doesn’t make good business sense. The best way to network is to pick out the few key people that can help you. Target them. Now you can start making those connections online. Follow them on Twitter. Connect on LinkedIn. If they ask a question on Twitter, try to answer it. Find a way to make that first connection online. Then extend it to the real world.
Always have a business card
Forget what anyone else tells you. Good networking requires a business card. We’ve lost track of the amount of times someone has said “oh, just find me on LinkedIn/Twitter/ my website”. Trust us, they won’t even remember your name the next day. Give them something real to take with them. Head to http://www.fastprinting.com.au, and order your first set of business cards right now.
Find a personal connection
The biggest mistake when networking is making it all about business. Most people don’t want to talk about business out of the office. So, if you’re at a networking event or a party, try to find another connection. A favourite sports team perhaps, or a mutual friend. Think of networking like making a friend first. The rest will come later. Finding a personal connection also makes it much easier to follow up. You can send an email the next day reminding them: “Hey, here’s that amazing touchdown I was telling you about! Ps. let’s get together and chat about the project you’re working on.”
Find a way to help them
The next big mistake in networking is thinking it’s all about you. Never ask for something without giving first. Go into every conversation thinking about how you can help them. That’s all they’re interested in. Answer their question, solve their problem. Then, bring up the problem of your own. Networking is all about mutual benefits. You won’t get something for nothing. So find the thing they’re looking for.
Finally, remember that networking is not a one-time thing. Once you’ve made that connection, nurture it. Keep a dialogue going. Send timely emails or a even a Christmas card! Whatever you think will work best. With this advice, you’ll be a networking champ in no time.