Tip 20 from Expert VA
Don’t spend the next 1-2 months wondering what it feels like to network.
Use this time to research various networks near you (and possibly some a bit further away) to see which suits your budget and your needs for your business.
Networking can be very difficult, but it shouldn’t be left to just online. I can personally tell you that it is an amazing feeling to walk into a room of people, some you have just connected with online, and for them to come up to you and say ‘WOW, it is great to finally meet you in person’.
So, although you may connect with people via various forms of social media from Facebook to LinkedIn, you also need to make sure you network with people face to face. It creates more of a bond, more of a sense of trust and awareness of you and what you do.
1) Research available networks to join, they may be lunch meetings or breakfasts. You should look for what they offer, the cost, what is expected of you and do they offer you at least to attend once free.
2) Know your elevator pitch for you and your business. This will be a necessity when you meet people for the first time and they ask what you do. Keep it to 30 seconds – which may mean you need to practice it over and over to feel it is just right. Ask other people to listen to your pitch and give you feedback.
3) Once this is done, connect with the owners of each network and let them know you are ready to connect up and join. Perhaps then also connect with them online via social media.
4) Attend your first meeting (which obviously now will probably be in late Jan/early Feb 2013). Walk in with confidence. Remember you love what you do so let it shine through, and it will.
Some examples of networks which may suit you and your business are:
There is a lot of details to look at to make your decision – so hopefully the above may assist you with your research and decisions.
Remember – Networking is an essential part of being in business – without networking, you may miss out on essential leads and new connections.
Hazel Theocharous, owner of Expert VA and Small Business Support Specialist.