Plan to network
Like anything else done well in life, you need to make a commitment to network. Designate at least an hour every day specifically dedicated to growing your business. Events are a great way to network and generate business opportunities.Once you find an event you want to attend, RSVP for it, this creates a commitment to yourself, and others, that you’re going. Finally, map out the event location day before. This way you can appropriately account for the hours and fit it into your schedule with ease.
Create marketing materials
Make sure you have enough business cards and other marketing materials on hand… and remember to bring them. Consider keeping a box in your car at all times. Always wear your company nametag and logo branded shirt if you have one.
Practice your elevator speech
What’s an elevator speech? A 30-second monologue that that highlights the key elements someone would need to know about you and your business. Formulating your elevator speech forces you to think about what you want to convey to others.
Set a goal for yourself before each networking event
Before you walk into an event, take a minute to set a goal for yourself. You may just want to meet five new people, inform others of a sale or event your business has coming up or to meet the keynote speaker. The goal simply helps you to focus on a single task you’d like to accomplish and can serve as a fantastic icebreaker for conversation with other attendees.
Show up & bring your SMILE…It’s contagious
Remember… we’re all human and we all just want to fit in and be liked. When you’re smiling, it makes it easier for others to introduce themselves to you.
Join the Flagler County Chamber and/or other chambers in the areas where you do business
Chambers of commerce are experts at connecting people and businesses. They provide you with networking and marketing opportunities that are unparalleled by any other organization. It’ll be the single most effective networking investment that you can make for your business.
Meet your business neighbors
Take the time to walk into businesses near your office and introduce yourself and your company…and use their services whenever possible. They’re your greatest allies when someone else in your area is looking for you, your business location, or asking for referrals of a business with your specialties.
Go to an Entrepreneur Night… or it’s counter-part in your area
Make sure to seek out Entrepreneur Night type events in your area. These events are invaluable for networking and draw many entrepreneurs, business owners, community leaders and business organizations.
LinkedIn! LinkedIn! LinkedIn!
LinkedIn is a free professional networking platform. Once you collect all those new contacts’ business cards at events, LinkedIn is your online tool to easily re-connect and explore business opportunities. Make sure you have an updated LinkedIn profile and send connection invites to others you’ve met.
Don’t be afraid to try new things
Mix it up! Visit new events to figure out which ones work with your professional goals. You’ll always meet some great new people and gain new connections