A business can only grow by increasing its connections and renown, thereby getting a larger customer base, and attracting more potential talent into the team. After all, everyone looks to join a thriving business, right?
But networking isn’t always as easy as it sounds – maybe you don’t know how to make the time or maybe you struggle knowing where to start or maybe you were just never that good at social interactions in general. Not to worry! The Anytime Offices blog is here to assist you.
We’ve put together a list of a few ways to increase networking prospects and get your business out there in the open, for everyone to join in and admire anywhere, anytime!
‘Word After Word After Word is Power’
One of the best ways to promote your business is through the written word! If phrased correctly, simple introductions and mentions of your business can be a powerful tool in building a reputation.
Funnily enough, blogging is a great way to get your business out there as it shows people that you’re invested in what you do and that you have enough passion to write about it! Not only that but blogs also offer different perspectives on your business and the services that it offers. You can also provide different images – you can be extremely professional and stern in your work but let loose a little in your blog with a more relaxed and friendly tone.
This will make you seem more approachable and friendly. Readers will get to see the casual side of you and your image will be more humanised and empathetic as you mention family, friends and the inspirations that gave rise to your business. People will relate to your experiences and see you for the great person you are!
And this is not just true for blogging – any form of social media will do! As long as you’re putting yourself out there and being open, people will gravitate to you out of curiosity. Plus, a bonus! Any titles or keywords used in your social media postings will appear in more and more searches as people browse the internet thus making you easier to discover. This is a great technique to use if you happen to be on the shier side of the spectrum.
Branch out and reach
If you thought the socialising ceases after graduating, you’re sorely mistaken. Networking is all about meeting new people, starting conversations and making connections. There are plenty of ways to do this but here are just a few.
- Referrals – no, they’re not just the notes your doctor gives you to see your specialist. Getting your friends, family, and previous clients to mention you to others is a great way of networking! Little by little, the business will boom as you get calls from your neighbour’s cousin enquiring about your services or that nice guy you had a chat with at your favourite coffee shop. Just be open to every opportunity.
- Testimonies – Make sure to ask your favourite clients to put in a little review of your performance or what they thought of your services online. Honest reviews are the best way to ensure the building of a positive image, especially if these testimonials give an idea of the kind of person you are, the kind of business you run and, more importantly, the wonderful relationships you may keep with your customers!
- Socialise online and in–person – LinkedIn and Twitter are fantastic platforms to set up networks. The more people you know, the more people will see you. Consider reconnecting with those estranged buddies from high school or even with those family members you’ve lost track of. Both of you could benefit from this symbiotic outreach. As for in-person, why not consider a day office rental or a shared workspace to try out?
Establish the values of your business
As good as it is to be open and flexible in some departments, always remember to stay true to your core values. Your business can have many different facets, but its foundation should remain unchangeable.
If you want to offer the best service possible and you do whatever you can to satisfy your client, try to keep your efforts consistent and equal so that every customer can expect to be treated with the same level of welcoming professionalism. If you aim to be punctual in life as in business, make it something your business is known for. Teach your employees and colleagues the value of implanting punctuality into their work style. If you strive to be compassionate but firm, remember to be kind and understanding to your customers. Let them know that you do know that circumstances can affect people differently and that you can be as fair to them as you will be to all your customers.
In short, let your business be an extension of your personality so that people get to see your best qualities shining through every person that works for you and with you.
Listen and respond
When attending social events, an outgoing and friendly disposition is great, sure, but be careful not to overdo it! Making yourself the centre of attention by constantly promoting your business and stating how great it is can come off as overbearing, narcissistic and selfish. Not the first impression you want to make!
Give others a chance to speak and listen closely to what they’re saying as it may be more helpful than you think! Maybe they’ll mention someone in passing who could benefit from your services or maybe you could benefit from theirs.
Great conversations are always mutual and respectful – you want to make the people you meet feel attended to just like you would want your customers to feel. Not only will more people gravitate towards you this way, but you will also be able to humbly provide more information about who you are and what you do as well as get to know them better and establish stronger connections.
Don’t beat around the bush
While small talk can be a great way to fill in some awkward silences and show good manners, dragging out a conversation can be frustrating and boredom-inducing for both you and your audience.
When you’re at business conventions, meetings, or formal social gatherings, it’s always better to come prepared and gather up the courage to be direct. Introduce yourself gently and ask questions to engage your new acquaintances. While it may be nice to ask about that recent holiday they mentioned or how they found their university, prying into someone’s life too much can be very off-putting. Make your intentions clear right from the start so that others feel comfortable with your interactions and are ready to have that kind of chat with you.
The last and most important lesson to remember is to always keep trying! No matter where you are. And if you’re a little shy and looking to throw yourself out of your comfort zone – why not rent a coworking space at Anytime Offices? Enter a welcoming, brightly lit space and let the extroverts of the group start things off while you get settled in. Who knows? You might be the one starting the conversation when the next person moves in!