Joining a local business networking group is a great way for small businesses to raise their profile, find new opportunities, expand their reach and meet like minded people looking to share good ideas and information.
Most small businesses don’t do enough networking as they find walking into a group of strangers and having to introduce themselves daunting. Being part of their local business community, most Big Yellow store managers are members of local networking groups and enjoy introducing their customers to other members. So if you’d like to start business networking and want a friendly face to go with, why not speak to your local Big Yellow store manager today.
Or simply do an online search for a local business network group in your area.
Have a plan for each event. Who you want to talk to? Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client? Do you want to meet three people and focus on getting to know them really well?
Get to the meeting ahead of the scheduled start – this is the key networking time.
Don't wait for someone to approach you. Move out of your comfort zone. Simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, "May I join you" or "What brings you to this event?"
Resist the urge to sell. Networking is all about relationship building. Be genuine and interested in your fellow networkers. Connect and help someone whenever you can and you’ll find it’s reciprocated.
Smile. It’s the best ice breaker.
Limit yourself to a maximum of 100 words in a 40 second speech and 150 in a 60 second speech. Bear in mind that 20 or more speeches are being heard every meeting. To be remembered, your speech has to be different and avoid repetition.
Always follow up. If you've had a good conversation always follow it up within 48 hours of the event to show you're interested and available. Whatever you commit to, make sure that you actually do it.