Creative businesses don’t grow without tuning into their local networks. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar storefront or strictly eCommerce and online, professional networking matters. Collaboration and conversations with other business owners do not always come naturally, so let’s talk about how t0 slay local networking.
A Professional Networking Mindset
If you want to grow your business, making local connections is vital. Not only can these connections help to broaden your understanding of the market for your sector, but they can also expose your brand to new clientele. Regardless of your industry, creative profession, or vision for your future business, you need networking.
When you attend networking events, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. While they may seem redundant to review, you’d be surprised by how many people don’t make the most of networking opportunities.
Bring Business Cards
Some people might tell you that business cards are a thing of the past. That’s just plain wrong. If you make an amazing connection at a networking event, you want a way to remember not only the person but they’re role and where they work.
Always have business cards, because they help make you memorable.
Not only does asking questions make you seem engaged, but it provides others with a sneak-peek into what a potential partnership with you could look like. Those that purposeful questions are often good listeners, pragmatic, and organized.
Consider phrasing your questions like, “This hurdle has araised for me. Have you experienced anything similar? How did you manage that kind of problem?”
Not only does a question like this show a hint of vulnerability, but also a desire to learn. Life-longer learners attract other problem-solvers, and these are the people who will end up helping you grow your business.
Have Something to Offer
Has one thing really worked for you? Sharing a small tip with others shows that you’re a team player. In reality, a team-oriented mindset is what networking is all about – you end up finding your team. Offer them tips or tricks to help them boost SEO, or create user-friendly content, or whatever your specialty is; this makes you feel accessible, which helps you network more effectively.
Where to Network
You have your business cards, questions to ask, and something to offer – now it’s time to get to networking.
If you’re seeking out professional and brand development through networking, there are a few types of events and places you should frequent. Remember, creative businesses require creative marketing solutions.
Local Professional Development Events
No matter where you are, chances are that there are groups of entrepreneurs like you gathering.
Go online a do a quick search. We recommend both Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Try to discover some locally that fall within categories you identify with. For example “Women-Led” or “Veteran-Owned.”
Oftentimes, these groups host virtual webinars, organize speakers and events, and even have more casual happy hours.
Interacting with a group of professionals you relate to is important; chances are, they’ve experienced and surpassed some of the hurdles you might face at some point. Growing your network provides you with access to valuable resources – in this case, other business owners with broad and tested expertise.
Coworking spaces are popping up in cities across the United States. Even if you’re in a small town, chances are that there’s a co-working space somewhere nearby.
Co-working spaces are fantastic because they bring together many kinds of entrepreneurs. You’ll find members involved in every sector, which makes for dynamic and wonderful conversations. Oftentimes, these spaces host events, happy hours, or plan a speaker series. All of these act as great opportunities to professionally network.
If you find any of the events valuable or discover a group of small business owners you enjoy collaborating with, who knows, maybe you’ll even join the co-working space.
Grow Your Professional Network
Need help expanding your network? Want to get your brand in front of your target market? We’re happy to provide you with some suggestions and networking tools. Reach out to our experts!