Networking is one of the easiest and most important way by which you can build your clientele. If you are a woman in small business or large; having a good networking list and taking care of your network will help you in decide what to do next. If you already have goals in mind, your network can help you achieve those goals.
Great networking skills are mandatory for every woman entrepreneur and they must be able to do it well. Networking can be divided into five simple steps, when followed can have positive results.
Step 1: Have the proper mindset
Even if you do not need clientele or contacts currently, find them, nurture them, and keep them. You never know when your network may come in handy. Networking is a long process and one which is everlasting. Do not leave networking if you are employed; continue it. Who knows, someone may have an idea or offer you an opportunity that could take in you a whole new direction in life. Always spend the time to maintain relationships with people you like, who encourage you, who work in areas you find interesting and who you can learn from. In order to maintain and build a successful relationship, don’t underestimate the time it will take. Ensure you put in the time as a priority.
Step 2: Have sharp skills
Networking is a gateway. By having a strong network and by working at building and maintaining it, you can be provided with better opportunities. To be able to meet new people and get acquainted, you need to be able to tell them in a few words what type of a person you are, what you do for a living and what you plan on achieving in the future. Remember, you must be able to convey this information within minutes; no one likes listening to someone else talk about herself continuously. Another important part in this stage of networking, is to find out what you can do to help them – ideally do this before asking for their help immediately.
Step 3: Give value
When you are in the process of networking, both people should be able to benefit each other mutually. Don’t be concerned if the people you are speaking with is not matched to your business. Enjoy the time you spend meeting them and see if you can introduce them to someone more appropriate to their business. Networking is not about handing out business cards to everyone. It’s about being selective with who you spend the majority of time with by asking questions to get to know them better. If they aren’t a match – move on.
Step 4: Have a follow up
Once you have made a contact, make it a point to keep in touch. This is an extremely important step – remember the quote ‘out of sight out of mind’. If the connection is important to you, you are the one who needs to make it happen.
Step 5: Influence your connections
This is considered one of the best ways of building a relationship. Send them a ‘nice to meet you’ email and perhaps news clipping every now about something they are interested in. It needs to be something of value ‘to them’. If carried out well and regularly, you could benefit a great deal from networking.
Author: Glenise Anderson