Networking is one of most effective and least expensive ways of creating and maintaining relationships that could result in new business leads, loyal customers and potential business partnerships. For small business owners, networking should be one of your top priorities, given that a large percentage of all business comes from referrals generated by your network.

To some, networking comes naturally, however for others it can be a gruelling ordeal. For those with a shy personality or those that have reservations about the potential for success with networking, you can gain value by following these tips:

Others are there to network too

It can be intimidating entering a room full of people that you’ve never met before. What you need to remember is everyone there is there to meet people and develop relationships too and these people could be just as apprehensive as you may be approaching others.

Put your mobile away

Consistently checking your mobile can make is seem like you’re unapproachable. Steer clear of this type of avoidance behaviour and take advantage of the networking time you have in order to grow your business.

Talk to people who are standing alone

Approaching an individual standing alone is the best way to get rid of any nerves you may have. It’s also the perfect opportunity to make a new contact – what do you have to lose?

Listen and ask questions

Asking questions allows others the opportunity to open up to you. Listen and take a mental note of any information that enables you to help them with your business or vice versa. Asking questions of others tends to encourage others to ask questions about you and your business. This will give you an opportunity to speak briefly about your business, your role and what it involves.

Be prepared

Bring plenty of business cards with you and swap them with the new contacts you have made during networking event. LinkedIn is also a popular way to connect with people after successful networking.

Follow up

Networking is an ongoing process and not something that happens overnight. Take the time to develop relationships with people who interest you or where there is common ground. Be proactive and invite someone to a one-on-one meeting so you can get to know them on a professional basis.

Here at The Quinn Group, our business accountants and lawyers can help you and provide advice on a range of small business matters. Contact us today on 02 9223 9166 or visit make an online enquiry here.