How Good Networkers Make Great Business Owners

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2011

A big part of being a successful business owner is knowing how to network with others effectively. This can often mean going to community business events, becoming involved in industry networking opportunities, and taking advantage of online networking tools like social media. However, for some business owners, this can be a scary or intimidating concept that takes years to master. If you are a business owner hoping to expand your network, it’s time to come out of your shell and learn how to network the right way.

Learning to be an effective networker takes practice. The good thing is that the vast majority of entrepreneurs have an innovative spirit that allows them to think outside of the box and try new things. By fostering this spirit, you can become a great networker and grow your business successfully. Here are some tips for successful business networking.

Tip 1 – Figure Out What Makes Your Business Unique

The key to being a confident networker is identifying early on what makes you stand out from your competitors. If you can figure that out, you can establish yourself in a niche market and have talking points when networking with others. Use this uniqueness to share your passion for what you do. People pick up on that very quickly and, before long, will be clamoring around you to find out more.

Tip 2 – Establish an Elevator Speech

Master speakers advise that business owners create a compelling elevator speech, which tells a short story about your company. Think of this as an “infomercial”, which describes your business in 30 seconds or less. Focus on something interesting that your business offers and why people should get to know you. The reason why you need an elevator speech as a networker is simple - you need a great way to break the ice and let others know about you at networking events.

Tip 3 – Participate in Focused Networking Groups

One of the mistakes that novice networkers make when trying to get out there at first is attending every single networking event and participating in multiple online networking activities. Within a short period of time, this can lead to serious burnout and may actually limit the amount of positive response. Look at every networking opportunity carefully to decide if being involved is getting in front of the right people. The goal of networking is to make contacts with your target market, not every single person in the universe. You’ll get more out of networking activities that focus on your key market.

Tip 4 – Communicate What You Need from Others

It’s easy to offer your business to others at networking groups, but are you getting what you need? Learn to clarify what it is you want to achieve from networking and start asking others for what you need. For example, you may need more referrals from a certain population of customers. Seek out complimentary businesses and ask them for referral exchanges. Offer a referral incentive for new business, and reciprocate by giving leads to the businesses you encounter. Over time, you will become a valuable resource to your network and gain just as much as you give.

Tip 5 – Follow Through Quickly on Leads

The purpose of networking as a business owner is to earn referrals and leads, which result in sales. If and when you get a lead, be sure to follow up as quickly as possible to get positive results and future referrals. This will help establish you as the go-to person when a specific need arises within your business networks. It also sends the message to others that you are serious about your company growth and by associating with you, others will also prosper. Treat every lead with priority and follow through with high quality work at all times to elevate yourself within networks.

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Tip 6 – Try New Networks or Start One


Sometimes, even the best networking activities become stale. Whenever a new networking opportunity comes along, be sure to check it out to see if there are some new contacts there that can help you grow your company. Very often, you will meet life-minded business owners who are progressively managing their own companies. If you don’t find any new networking groups that fit your needs, organize and start one yourself. You can earn the respect of other business owners, invite the businesses you want to associate with, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry as the leader of your own networking group.

Once you step outside of your comfort zone and start actively participating in networking groups, you will find that they will become a great source of fresh leads and ongoing business partnerships. Be consistent and get involved with local and online networking groups to expand your range of influence and give your business wings this year.

About the Author

Tess Taylor

Tess C. Taylor is a Web Copy Writer and Business Consultant from Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to being a 15 year veteran in Human Resources, Tess has had over 2,000 articles published on various small business, online marketing, green lifestyle, entrepreneurial and career topics around the globe.

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