Networking for Entrepreneurs – Some Do’s and Don’ts
With the holiday season approaching, you’re going to be at a lot of events that present a great opportunity for networking. Unfortunately, even the most experienced entrepreneurs can often be inexperienced in the art of networking.
The most major mistake small business owners may make is not networking. Opting to avoid networking means that you are not capitalizing on opportunities nearly as much as you could be. Some business owners cite several reasons as to why they do not network such as not having the energy or personality. Most experienced entrepreneurs find ways to circumvent such obstacles, as they view networking as a critical process. Networking can be seen as a very high value activity for a business, considering the results it may provide relative to the resources that must be placed towards engaging in it.
Another common mistake is actively attending networking events but not reaping the rewards of networking. If you leave with a bunch of business cards and then store them in a drawer rather than follow up with prospective clients and partners, attending events will not be a productive activity for you. As well when networking authenticity is very important. Connecting to others as a company instead of as a person can be a major mistake. How often have you spoken with someone and come away feeling that they were a little too “salesy”?. Connecting with people takes time and effort, but if you build the right connections with people, they may provide you with a stream of clients through word of mouth.
Finally, be sure to manage your efforts carefully and be selective. Attempting to go to every event you get an email or brochure about can lead to burnout. With a little consideration and planning you can reap the rewards of networking without incurring any of the drawbacks.